Trump taps son-in-law as ad­viser

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Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump ap­pointed his in­flu­en­tial son-in-law Jared Kush­ner as a White House se­nior ad­viser Mon­day, putting the young real es­tate ex­ec­u­tive in po­si­tion to ex­ert broad sway over both do­mes­tic and for­eign pol­icy, par­tic­u­larly Mid­dle East is­sues and trade ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Trump has come to rely heav­ily on Kush­ner, who is mar­ried to the pres­i­dent-elect’s daugh­ter Ivanka. Since the elec­tion, the po­lit­i­cal novice has been one of the tran­si­tion team’s main li­aisons to for­eign gov­ern­ments, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Is­raeli of­fi­cials and meet­ing Sun­day with Bri­tain’s for­eign min­is­ter. He’s also hud­dled with con­gres­sional lead­ers and helped in­ter­view Cab­i­net can­di­dates.

Ivanka Trump, who also played a sig­nif­i­cant role ad­vis­ing her fa­ther dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, will not be tak­ing a for­mal White House po­si­tion. Tran­si­tion of­fi­cials said the mother of three young chil­dren wanted to fo­cus on mov­ing her fam­ily from New York to Wash­ing­ton.

Kush­ner’s own el­i­gi­bil­ity for the White House could be chal­lenged, given a 1967 law meant to bar gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials from hir­ing rel­a­tives. Kush­ner lawyer Jamie Gore­lick ar­gued Mon­day that the law does not ap­ply to the West Wing. She cited a later con­gres­sional mea­sure to al­low the pres­i­dent “un­fet­tered” and “sweep­ing” author­ity in hir­ing staff.

In a state­ment, Trump said Kush­ner will be an “in­valu­able mem­ber of my team as I set and ex­e­cute an am­bi­tious agenda.”

Kush­ner will re­sign as CEO of his fam­ily’s real es­tate com­pany and as pub­lisher of the New York Ob­server. He will also di­vest “sub­stan­tial as­sets,” Gore­lick said. The lawyer said Kush­ner would not be tak­ing a salary. Ivanka Trump will also be leav­ing her ex­ec­u­tive roles at the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion – her fa­ther’s real es­tate com­pany – and her own fash­ion brands.

Kush­ner, who turns 36 on Tues­day, emerged as one of Trump’s most pow­er­ful cam­paign ad­vis­ers dur­ing his fa­ther-in-law’s of­ten un­ortho­dox pres­i­den­tial bid – a calm­ing pres­ence in an oth­er­wise chaotic cam­paign. Soft-spo­ken and press-shy, he was deeply in­volved in the cam­paign’s dig­i­tal ef­forts and was usu­ally at Trump’s side dur­ing the elec­tion’s clos­ing weeks.

He has con­tin­ued to be a com­mand­ing pres­ence dur­ing the tran­si­tion, work­ing along­side in­com­ing White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and se­nior ad­viser Steve Bannon. He’s played a key role in co­or­di­nat­ing Trump’s con­tacts with for­eign lead­ers and has been talk­ing with for­eign gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials him­self, ac­cord­ing to a per­son with knowl­edge of the con­ver­sa­tions.

Last week, Kush­ner and Bannon – the con­tro­ver­sial con­ser­va­tive me­dia ex­ec­u­tive – met with Bri­tish For­eign Min­is­ter Boris John­son.

Kush­ner and Bannon have 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.


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