US Justice Department okays Trump son-in-law to serve as adviser
Drew Angerer (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/Archives)
The United States Department of Justice on Saturday said that decision of president Donald Trump to hire his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a senior White House adviser does not break federal anti-nepotism laws.
The department's Office of Legal Counsel said in a January 20 letter posted to its website that the president has special hiring authority under which White House positions are exempt from laws barring the president from naming a relative to head a federal agency, the New York Times first reported Saturday.
Kushner, 35, a property developer and magazine publisher who has been credited with being the brains behind the scenes that helped get his father-in-law elected, is married to Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka.
Kushner's role came under scrutiny for potential conflicts of interests, and the Justice Department was requested to issue a definitive ruling on the matter.
The Justice Department said that should Kushner be granted the security clearance of a White House staffer, he will be bound by existing conflict-of-interest laws and their restrictions.
"Congress has not blocked, and most likely could not block, the president from seeking advice from family members in their personal capacities," the department wrote in its 14-page opinion, according to Reuters.
"Consequently, even if the anti-nepotism statute prevented the president from employing relatives in the White House as advisers, he would remain free to consult those relatives as private citizens," it said.
Weeks after naming Kushner to his administration, Trump announced during an interview with the Times of London that he would appoint his Jewish son-in-law to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
"If you can't produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can," he told Kushner at a pre-inauguration event.
Negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians have been at a standstill since US-brokered talks collapsed in 2014.
(Staff with agencies)
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