Donald Trump’s son-in-law and husband to Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, is expected to become one of the White House’s senior advisers, focusing primarily on relationships with the Middle East.
According to legal experts, 35-year-old Kushner would not be violating the United States law that forbids any act of nepotism, which is the political practice of putting family members in positions of power.
Kushner will be working alongside administration strategist Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to provide insight to any actions that the President-elect is expected to perform. The new senior White House adviser would be leaving his position as the CEO of Kushner Companies and the New York Observer, divesting from any of his financial positions and assets.
The Trumps take over the White House
The 5 U.S. Code § 3110 was the biggest obstacle for Trump to appoint family members to jobs in the West Wing of the White House, but apparently, he can circumvent this law mainly because the President is entitled to pick his staff to his liking, which is different from choosing the members of his Cabinet. The 5 U.S. Code § 3110 reads as follows:
“An individual may not be appointed, employed, promoted, or advanced in or to a civilian position in an agency if such appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement has been advocated by a public official, serving in or exercising jurisdiction or control over the agency, who is a relative of the individual.”
This is where “agency” is referred to as an Executive Agency, an agency, any other establishment in the legislative or judicial branch, or the government of the District of Columbia. Coherently, the decision is based on a ruling that had Hillary Clinton appointed to the White House to work on health care reform.
Now Jared Kushner will be at the President’s side, both being successful real estate magnates and investors. Kushner’s father was imprisoned for performing illegal campaign donations and many other charges, which led Jared to take over the family company. An Orthodox Jew, Jared Kushner served as one of Trump’s most important advisers during the campaign, even if he has not had previous experience in government affairs.
As of late, Kushner is known to have met with Chinese businessman Wu Xiaohui, the director of Anbang Insurance Group. He is expected to be in charge of the development of the 666 Fifth Ave. Building, located in Manhattan, owned by Kushner Companies. Xiaohui has plenty of business interests in the United States, buying several hotels and holding over $115 billion in assets.
Public officers are expected to divest of their financial assets and other sources of income as they serve in the presidential administration. Besides resigning from his positions on both of his largest companies, he will also divest from any interest generated by the 666 Fifth Avenue. He is also expected not to partake in the real estate market. Ivanka will also divest from most of her assets, including those held by the Trump Organization and her fashion business.
Local and foreign changes with dangerous consequences
One of the latest announcements upheld by Trump in the field of international relations is the strengthening of the U.S.’s position in Israel, primarily by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, perhaps one of the most disputed territories in all of modern history.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas referred to the announcement as potentially “disastrous” for the peace process, as it would help fuel the instability of the region, which has remained relatively at peace for the last months. Palestinians keep the claim that East Jerusalem is the capital of their entitled country, while Israel assures that the whole city acts as the Jewish nation’s capital. Israel has shown support for the decision announced by Trump, and it is the first time such an action is expected to occur, seeing that it has been suggested to previous presidents without any result.
Current Secretary of State John Kerry warned that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would cause a major conflagration, not only in the area but it would also sever the relationship between Egypt, Jordan, any every nearby nation. Kerry referred to the decision as the preamble to “an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.”
He suggests that any unilateral decision will be extremely dangerous for the U.S.’s interests in the Middle East since there are two large parties in a decade-long struggle to maintain control of Jerusalem. The occupation by Israel occurred in 1967, but shortly after, the UN Security Council ruled the territory as of Palestinian belonging, something that Israel has debated in arms to this day.
But it seems that the decision will be a reality, due to Kellyanne Conway stating last month that relocating the embassy is nothing short of a priority for the President-elect, as he repeated it several times both in public and private.