Jared Kushner, one of the most influential voices in Donald Trump’s inner circle, is credited with helping steer the presidential campaign to victory and has been expected to continue in a close advisory role to Donald Trump after he takes office on January 20, 2017.
Kushner’s expected appointment as a senior adviser — a role that does not require Senate confirmation — would raise a number of legal and ethical questions, given his family ties to the president-elect.
Transition and legal officials said they do not expect legal challenges to Kushner officially joining the White House. If any were to arise, the officials said they feel comfortable gray area in the anti-nepotism statute would accommodate their plan. Officials said there is a precedent that the White House be interpreted not as an agency under terms of the statute since its sole function is to advise and assist the president.
Jared Kushner, an observant Jew, became one of Trump’s most powerful campaign advisers during his father-in-law’s surprising presidential run to the White House. Kushner was a calming presence in the chaotic campaign. He was deeply involved in the campaign’s digital efforts and was at Trump’s side during the election’s closing weeks.
He first took a role in Trump’s presidential campaign advising him on US policy toward Israel. It was Jared who helped prepare Trump for an appearance before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in March, and Jared who helped broker a truce with Fox News when Trump fought with Megyn Kelly, the network’s star anchor.
His role grew from there as he became an influential figure in the campaign, directing much of the campaign’s strategy and data operation. Kushner has become a key adviser and power broker to the president-elect during the transition, serving as a point of contact for powerful business interests, foreign governments and other powerful figures. Since the election, Kushner has been one of the transition team’s main liaisons to foreign governments, communicating with Israeli officials, and meeting with congressional leaders and helping interview Cabinet candidates.
Kushner also worked closely on issues related to Israel, including discussions over moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, which could inflame tensions in the Middle East, and on the Trump administration’s response to a United Nations Security Council measure condemning Israeli settlements.
Kushner will not take a salary as he steps into the West Wing job, an official who briefed on behalf of the transition told reporters later on Monday.
“It is an honor to serve our country. I am energized by the shared passion of the President-elect and the American people and I am humbled by the opportunity to join this very talented team.” Jared Kushner.
“I would love to have Jared helping us with deals with other nations and see if we can do peace in the Middle East and other things. He’s very talented,” Donald Trump.
Trump has pledged to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv, where it has been for 68 years, to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel’s capital despite international objections.
Kushner will step down as the CEO of Kushner Companies. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who is married to Kushner, will also step down from her executive position in the Trump Organization, but will take no formal role in the administration for now. Kushner will divest his holdings in 666 Fifth Avenue; sell his holdings in The Observer; divest his interest in his brother’s firm, Thrive Capital; and restructure other investments. He will also divest of all foreign investments.
Ivanka Trump, in order to comply with ethics laws, will step down from her role as executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization and head of her eponymous fashion brand. She will sell all of her common stock and will receive only fixed payments on certain projects related to the family business so that she does not benefit from the company’s profits.
Sources: New York Times, Business Insider, CNN, Washington Post, US Weekly, ABC News, Reuters
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