Trump to name son-in-law Jared Kushner as special adviser

Donald Trump is planning to appoint son-in-law Jared Kushner to a presidential advisory position, aides said Monday, arguing that nepotism laws do not apply to White House appointees.

Trump appeared to confirm the Kushner appointment in short question-and-answer sessions with reporters, telling them that "we'll talk about that on Wednesday" at a scheduled news conference.

Aides said the husband of Ivanka Trump is working to wrap up his own business affairs in preparation for a move to Washington.

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 told USA TODAY.

Kushner played a very prominent role in Trump's presidential campaign.

He would not be the first son-in-law to work in a presidential administration, William Gibbs McAdoo served as Treasury secretary for President Woodrow Wilson. McAdoo, however, was a Cabinet official before he married Wilson's daughter, Eleanor.

In 1967, just a few years after President John Kennedy appointed his brother, Robert, as attorney general, Congress passed anti-nepotism laws barring appointments of relatives.

Trump aides cited legal rulings saying Congress cannot apply that law to executive branch appointments, including a case involving Hillary Clinton's work as chair of a health care task force created by President Bill Clinton.

 

Said Conway: "The president has the right to appoint who he wants if you look at the law.”

In his brief appearances before reporters, Trump declined to answer questions Monday about Russia and the election, but he did predict that the Senate will confirm all of his Cabinet nominees.

"Confirmation is going great," the president-elect told reporters at Trump Tower. "They're all at the highest level."

Wednesday's news conference is also expected to include discussion of what he will do with his business interests, Trump said: "It's very very easy to do."

Asked specifically about Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, Trump said: "No, I think he's going to do great. High quality man."

Trump also declined to answer questions about the intelligence report that Russia interfered in last year's election by hacking Democratic campaign officials. "We'll talk about that at another time," he said.

Trump spoke briefly with reporters after meeting with a key figure in his forthcoming presidency — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — who also had little to say afterward.

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"The president-elect and I had a good meeting about the Senate's agenda, which of course includes confirming the Cabinet appointments, (and) getting further down the road towards repealing and replacing Obamacare," McConnell told reporters at Trump Tower.

He added: "We simply talked about the Senate agenda and how we're ready to get going once he gets down there."

McConnell ignored questions about the intelligence report that Russia interfered in last year's election by hacking Democratic campaign officials, but he did respond to queries about ethics reviews of Trump Cabinet nominees.

"Everybody will be properly vetted as they have been in the past, and I'm hopeful that we'll get up to six or seven — particularly national security team in place — on Day One," McConnell said.

Trump will be sworn in as the nation's 45th president on Jan. 20.


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