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Trump Transition

Trump's son-in-law mulling senior role in White House, but that may be illegal

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband, has become one of Donald Trump's most trusted campaign advisers, and now he's likely to take a top job at the Trump White House, possibly senior adviser or general counsel, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing "people familiar with the presidential transition." Both incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Stephen Bannon are reportedly pushing Kushner, 35, to join the president-elect's inner circle, but there are a few problems. First up, the law.

In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed an anti-nepotism law that prohibits federal public officials — including members of Congress and the president — from hiring relatives. Kushner has suggested he would step around that law by not drawing a salary, but two former White House ethics lawyers say that wouldn't pass legal muster. "We're not talking about Kushner running a side task force here. We're talking about a regular staff job," said Norm Eisen, who worked for Obama. "This falls right in the bull's eye of the statute. I think it's illegal." Richard Painter, who worked in the George W. Bush White House, concurred, telling Politico: "He cannot take a take a job in the White House. Highly inappropriate.... I don't know why they think they can. Just read the language in the statute."

Kushner was not only a key mastermind in Trump's victory, he and Trump are also both successful real estate developers who inherited and expanded their fathers' empires — in Kushner's case, he took over the business in 2006, at age 25, when his father was jailed for fraud after being prosecuted by Chris Christie, who was pushed out of the Trump transition team last week. Trump sources tell The Wall Street Journal that Kushner wasn't behind the purge of Christie and the people he brought in, but Julie Pace of The Associated Press says her sources say Kushner may hold a "lingering grudge and resentment" against Christie. "Obviously, I think any of us would have similar feelings if one of our parents had been put in jail by someone," she said on MSNBC, "but this is just part of the intrigue of Trump's orbit, that you have people like that with these long-simmering feuds who are involved in making just incredibly important decisions about his administration." Peter Weber