Thursday, November 17, 2016

Donald Trump to Appoint His Son-in-law into Key US Government Position at Whitehouse?

The lobby of Trump Tower had a frenetic pace on Thursday as a parade of current and former office holders and others came to meet with President-elect Donald J. Trump he works to build out his nascent administration.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, talks with lawyers.

Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Mr. Trump, has consulted with lawyers about the possibility of joining the new administration.

Mr. Kushner, 35, had been planning to return to his private businesses after Election Day. But on the morning after Mr. Trump won, he began discussing a role in the White House, according to two people briefed on his discussions, who asked for anonymity to describe his thinking.

Mr. Trump is urging him to join, according to one of the people briefed, a sentiment shared by Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist for the White House, and Reince Priebus, who was named chief of staff.

Mr. Kushner has consulted with at least one lawyer and believes that by forgoing a salary and putting his investment fund, his newspaper (The New York Observer) and his real estate holdings into a blind trust that he would not be bound by federal anti-nepotism such rules, according to one of those people briefed.

Still, it is not clear that such an arrangement would be legal. Under federal statute, the president cannot accept voluntary services that are not permitted by law, and a separate statute bars public officials from employing family members in any capacity.

The elevators are crowded at Trump Tower.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump’s campaign confidants who has been mentioned as a possible secretary of state, arrived at Trump Tower in the morning along with several aides. Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, declined to answer questions, saying he needed to get upstairs.

Mr. Giuliani left after an hour, saying only, “I’m going to get some rest.”

Steve Mnunchin, a candidate to be Treasury secretary, and Michael Glassner, a deputy campaign manager for Mr. Trump, also came to meet with transition officials.

Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican who is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and another candidate for Treasury, also met with Mr. Trump.

“I’ve got a great position in public policy today, if he wants to talk to me obviously, about serving somewhere else, we’ll look at serving somewhere else,” Mr. Hensarling said.

When former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger arrived at Trump Tower on Thursday, he did not have to pass through the building’s lobby, allowing him to avoid the news media.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Kissinger “have known each other for years and had a great meeting,” the transition team said, adding that the two men had talked about China, Russia, Iran, the European Union and “other events and issues around the world.”

Among the candidates for secretary of state or another position, Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, also talked with transition officials. “We’re just happy to have her here for her advice and counsel and to hear about the great success story of South Carolina,” said Kellyanne Conway, one of Mr. Trump’s last campaign managers.

Jeff Sessions seems poised to have spot in new cabinet.

The transition team appeared to hint on Thursday that Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, will be in Mr. Trump’s cabinet.

In a written statement, the team said that Mr. Sessions had met with Mr. Trump in his New York office on Thursday.

“While nothing has been finalized and he is still talking with others as he forms his cabinet, the president-elect has been unbelievably impressed with Senator Sessions and his phenomenal record as Alabama’s attorney general and U.S. attorney,” the transition team said in a statement. “It is no wonder the people of Alabama re-elected him without opposition.”

Trump is asked to sever business ties.

Republican and Democratic lawyers and government ethics groups on Thursday called on Mr. Trump to sever all ties with the vast real estate and business empire that bears his name and place it in a blind trust, warning that failure to do so could result in contentious conflicts and even threats of impeachment.

In a letter to Mr. Trump on Thursday, the group including Norm Eisen, President Obama’s former ethics lawyer, and Richard Painter, who had the same post under George W. Bush, said the president-elect must transfer control of all of his businesses assets and investments to an independent trustee who would sell them and not disclose how the proceeds are invested.

If he chose to put his children in charge of the businesses, as Mr. Trump has said he plans to do, they added, “a clear firewall must by established” barring the family members from involvement in policy decisions at the White House and forbidding them to discuss the business with their father or anyone in his administration.

Ted Cruz: From bitter enemy to ‘eager and committed’ to Trump.
Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, second from right, at the Capitol on Wednesday.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who battled bitterly with Mr. Trump during the Republican primary, said on Thursday that he was “eager and committed” to working with him.

In an interview on Fox News, Mr. Cruz said that he met with Mr. Trump on Wednesday and that they had a “far-reaching” conversation about the challenges facing the country. There is speculation that Mr. Cruz could be a potential nominee for attorney general or the Supreme Court, but on Thursday he dodged questions about his future.

“I’m eager to work with the president in whatever capacity I can have the greatest impact defending the principles I was elected to defend,” Mr. Cruz said. “I am excited for the opportunity we have to come together and get the job done.”

Republicans have only a slim majority in the Senate, but Mr. Cruz expressed openness to doing away with the filibuster so that his party could push through Mr. Trump’s agenda.

“I think we need to do whatever is necessary to get the job done,” he said.

A short-term fix is seen to keep the government open.

House and Senate Republicans have agreed to pass a short-term spending measure through March, kicking the appropriations process, which leaders in both chambers vowed to do this year, into the next Congress and administration.

The bill is expected to pass before the current spending measure expires on Dec. 9. Appropriations bills have been contentious because they are often filled with conservative policy riders that have made those spending bills subject to presidential veto in the Obama administration. With Mr. Trump in the White House, there will be a fresh test of the appropriations process, including a new debate on earmarks.

Janet Yellen on the economy: ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen.’

Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, was asked by members of Congress at a hearing Thursday about the economic impact of Mr. Trump’s election. Markets have rallied on optimism that Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans will stimulate growth by cutting taxes and increasing spending on defense and infrastructure. Ms. Yellen struck a more cautious note.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “There’s a great deal of uncertainty. We will be watching the decisions that Congress makes and updating our economic outlook as the policy outlook becomes clearer.”

A tech round table at the 19th hole?

The work on a new administration will have a brief site change on Friday when Mr. Trump heads to his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., for additional meetings.

Among the possible events being discussed within his campaign is a round table with tech industry leaders, many of whom view Mr. Trump suspiciously after his more provoking oratory during the campaign.

- nytimes

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