Kusher Appointment is Trump’s ‘First Attempt to Ignore the Law’, says Professor
Jan 10, 2017 03:14 PM EST
U.S President-elect Donald Trump might be putting legal precedent to its first test as he prepares to enter the White House next week (Jan 20) - with his intention to appoint his son-in-law Jared Kushner to a senior administration role.
Professor Kathleen Clark of Washington University Law School told The Washington Post in an interview that she asserting the Kushner pick breaches a law against nepotism and sees this as Trump's first attempt to ignore the law, act in violation of the law and that "he's going to see if he can get away with it."
"President-elect Trump, in my view, is testing the waters to see if he can get away with violating what I would call this government ethics provision. And whether President-elect Trump gets away with this depends, it seems to me, in part on the public response as well as the congressional response," she said.
Husband of Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, Kushner has claimed that he will comply with government ethics rules by divesting himself of certain assets and stepping down as the head of his family real estate empire. However, while that may comply with conflict of interest rules, the question of nepotism could still be up in the air.
The Congress passed a law that prohibited leaders from installing their relatives in White House roles, after President John Kennedy chose his brother Robert Kennedy as Attorney General.
Trump and his allies believe a 1993 D.C. Circuit Court decision - where one judge wrote in an opinion on whether the First Lady was a federal officer, could support the claim that the nepotism does not apply to the president, but Clark emphasized that the statement is "a weak basis" and wasn't "legally binding" to oversee the appointment.
It is enormously significant, according to Clark, that President Trump is required to follow the law or not, because it is an initial test to see whether he who has "violated norms" during his presidency campaign, also plans to violate the law.