Jared Kushner, President-elect Donald Trump's son-in-law and incoming senior adviser, will "extricate himself entirely" from his businesses by using a family arrangement that is consistent with all federal rules, his attorney said Tuesday morning.
"He's going to do three things," attorney Jamie Gorelick told NBC's "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer. "He is going to step away from his businesses. He's going to extricate himself entirely. That's number one. Number two, he's going to divest many of his assets."
The third step, said Gorelick, will involve Kushner following "normal recusal procedures," which have been "followed by scores of people over decades of experience."
Lauer pointed out, though that Kushner plans to sell some of his interests to his brother, venture capitalist Joshua, while selling other interests and placing the money in a trust controlled by his mother, Seryl Kushner.
The New York Times reports that Kushner's mother and siblings are the beneficiaries of the trust. Matthew Sanderson, former general counsel to Sen. Rand Paul's presidential campaign, told the newspaper that the transactions should be independent of Kushner, but the way it's set up, "it sounds like a shell game."
Gorelick denied that, though, pointing out that the Kushners are involved in a family business and the methods being used are legally allowed because "one can sell interest to another family member."
"He is not going to be a beneficiary of this trust, not a contingent beneficiary of this trust," Gorelick told Lauer. "I'm very comfortable that this arrangement is appropriate under the rules. The Office of Government Ethics has given us advice, and we followed it."
Gorelick also said that the federal anti-nepotism statue won't come into play, as it does not apply to the president's immediate White House office.
"After the anti-nepotism statute was passed in the late 60s, a decade later Congress passed the law that said that the president can have total discretion over his immediate staff, without regard to any other law, including the anti-nepotism law," Gorelick said.
"We have examples of this, and I think as — I'm a Democrat — I think that a president should be able to get advice from the person he wants to get advice from."
Lauer noted that in an interview earlier this month, Andrew Card, former chief of staff for President George W. Bush, said the staff closest to the president should be able to speak "truth to power, give an unvarnished opinion and you should be able to fire that person," asking if that could get complicated between Trump and Kushner, the husband of Ivanka Trump.
"That's between Donald Trump and Jared Kushner," said Gorelick. "I believe a president should be able to get advice from whomever he or she wants. If Hillary Clinton had been elected and wanted to have Chelsea in her immediate staff giving her advice, that would have been [her] right.
"This is the judgment that Congress made in 1978. It said that the White House office is the purview of the president. He can decide. She can decide."
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