NEW YORK, U.S. – U.S. president-elect Donald Trump appointed his son-in-law Jared Kushner as a White House senior adviser on Monday.
“Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted adviser throughout the campaign and transition and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration,” Trump said in a statement.
“He has been incredibly successful, in both business and now politics.”
Trump campaign also described Kushner as “a widely respected businessman and real estate developer was instrumental in formulating and executing the strategy behind President-elect Trump’s historic victory in November.”
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, will be in a position to influence both domestic and foreign policy, particularly Middle East issues and trade negotiations, having been a key figure liaising with foreign governments, in particular with Israeli officials.
Kushner’s appointment could be challenged with respect to a 1967 law meant to bar government officials from hiring relatives.
The young real estate executive’s lawyer Jamie Gorelick argued that the law did not apply to the president, adding that Kushner is “committed to complying with federal ethics laws, and we have been consulting with the Office of Government Ethics regarding the steps he would take.”
His advocate argued that the anti-nepotism statue which applies to presidential administrations excludes the White House office where Kushner would be based.
Kushner will resign from the management positions he holds at his companies, including as CEO of Kushner Companies, and positions with other organizations, and will divest from a “significant number” of his assets to comply with government ethics rules, Gorelick told CNN on Monday.
He will also step down as publisher of New York media publication the Observer.
The son-in-law of the incoming president will also not take a salary he takes over the West Wing job.
Ivanka will also step down from her executive position in the Trump Organization, although she has no formal role in the administration.
Kushner, meanwhile, called the appointment an “honor,” and said he is “energized by the shared passion of the president-elect and the American people.”
Kushner “is spending a lot of money on lawyers and compliance lawyers and has a real interest in bringing what has been tremendous business acumen and political instincts during the campaign into the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law the president,” incoming presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway said in a statement.
However, top Democrats called for a review of the appointment.
“There is a strong case to be made that the White House is an “agency” for purposes of the anti-nepotism statute and that it would apply to bar Mr. Kushner’s appointment as a White House staff member,” wrote Rep. John Conyers, the House Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, and other top Democrats on the committee, in a statement released on Monday evening.
Further, Larry Noble, general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center and a CNN consultant, said, “A classic abuse of hiring authority is hiring your own relatives.”
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