Date
17 October 2017
A file picture shows Donald Trump speaking at an election campaign rally in Westchester, New York with son-in-law Jared Kushner (L) and daughter Ivanka by his side. Photo: Reuters
A file picture shows Donald Trump speaking at an election campaign rally in Westchester, New York with son-in-law Jared Kushner (L) and daughter Ivanka by his side. Photo: Reuters

Trump son-in-law Kushner to take key White House role

US President-elect Donald Trump has appointed his son-in-law Jared Kushner to a senior advisory role in the White House, leading to a rare case of a close presidential family member taking on a major job. 

Kushner, 35, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, will work on trade deals and the Middle East, Reuters quoted transition officials as saying on Monday, 

The young real estate executive is taking the job after receiving legal counsel that he would not be violating a US anti-nepotism law, according to the officials.

Ivanka, who like her husband has been a trusted adviser to the US president-elect, will not take on a role in her father’s White House but will focus instead on settling her family in Washington.

Both of the Trumps will undertake significant divestments of their wide-ranging financial portfolios as they prepare for their move to Washington from New York and face inevitable questions about a potential conflict of interest.

Senior transition officials and a lawyer for Kushner laid out the arrangement in a conference call with a small group of reporters, Reuters said.

Kushner is to work closely with incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior strategist Steve Bannon in advising the new president. 

He will focus, at least initially, on trade policy and the Middle East.

Trump has vowed to rewrite international trade deals to make them more favorable to the US and has adopted a pro-Israel stance.

Jamie Gorelick, a New York lawyer who served as deputy attorney general for Democratic President Bill Clinton, helped advise Kushner on whether he would violate a 1967 anti-nepotism statute and said he would not.

“I’m not saying that there isn’t an argument on the other side, and I respect the people who have made the argument on the other side. I just think we have the better argument,” Reuters quoted her as saying.

Gorelick said Congress in 1978 authorized the president to hire personnel for the White House office “without regard” to federal personnel laws like the anti-nepotism statute and that the Justice Department had described that authority as unfettered and sweeping.

In order to comply with federal ethics laws and after consulting the Office of Government Ethics, Kushner will take a number of steps to divest substantial assets, Gorelick said.

Kushner will resign from his positions as chief executive of the Kushner Companies and as publisher of the New York Observer newspaper and divest any foreign investments.

In addition, he will recuse himself from participating in matters that could have a direct effect on his remaining financial interests.

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RC

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