[00:00.00]American President-elect Donald Trump has appointed his son-in-law Jared Kushner to a high-level position in his administration.
[00:15.53]Trump asked Kushner to serve as a senior adviser to the president.
[00:24.07]Unlike cabinet positions, the job of adviser does not require approval of the United States Senate.
[00:35.38]Six members of Congress are questioning Kushner’s appointment.
[00:42.22]All six belong to the Democratic Party.
[00:47.25]The lawmakers wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.
[00:59.74]They noted that a 1967 law bars a public official from appointing a family member to the same agency in which the official serves.
[01:17.10]They also asked the Justice Department and ethics officials to investigate possible conflicts of interest.
[01:28.63]Jared Kushner is married to Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
[01:36.33]Lawyer Jamie Gorelick is advising Kushner on legal issues.
[01:44.60]She said the law does not affect the president because the White House does not fall under the definition of an agency.
[01:57.30]The lawyer also said that Kushner plans to sell all his foreign investments and his financial interests in an investment company and an office building in New York.
[02:14.55]He also will resign as head of Kushner Companies and as the publisher of The New York Observer newspaper before working for the Trump administration.
[02:30.48]The six lawmakers questioned Gorelick’s statement that Kushner would remove himself from decisions involving his remaining financial interests after leaving his companies.
[02:48.11]They said he would still have investments that could be affected by government policy that he influences.
[02:59.33]Aides to Donald Trump said that, as a presidential adviser, Kushner will work mainly on issues involving trade and the Middle East.
[03:13.30]They said he will work closely with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon.
[03:24.87]Legal experts are offering differing opinions about whether the appointment of Trump’s son-in-law violates the 50-year-old law.
[03:39.23]Kathleen Clark is a law professor at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri.
[03:48.20]She said her understanding of the law is that it does affect the president.
[03:57.09]“Congress didn’t in this law carve out an exception for the White House,” Clark told the Associated Press.
[04:06.98]She said it governs the presidency, the legislature, the courts and the District of Columbia government.
[04:17.95]But Indiana University professor Gerald Magliocca said he did not think the law could be used to restrict the president’s team without risking constitutional problems.
[04:36.27]“It’s hard to see why Congress has the authority to limit presidential staff members,” he said.
[04:47.19]I’m Caty Weaver.