Update 12/13/16: In a recent interview with Fox News, Donald Trump shared how much he'd love for his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner to be a part of his administration.
"I would love to be able to have them involved," he said. "If you look at Ivanka, you take a look, she's so strong, as you know, to the women's issue and childcare, and so many things-she'd be so good. Nobody can do better than her. I'd just have to see whether or not we can do that. She'd like to do that.... I'd love to have Jared helping us on deals with other nations and see if we can do peace in the Middle East, and other things. He's very talented. He's a very talented guy. So, we're looking at that from a legal standpoint right now."
A recent series of tweets from Trump also suggests that Ivanka will play a role in his administration, and further confirms that his two elder sons will run his business.
Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my busineses before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the......- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
Presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
Original: "People think that you're going to be part of the administration, Ivanka," posed CBS news anchor Lesley Stahl.
While it would be unprecedented, it's certainly not a crazy assumption. Throughout her father's campaign, Ivanka served as a trusted advisor, giving speeches at events, appearing in advertisements, and reportedly shaping Trump's message.
But her response to Stahl affirms that she doesn't want a job in her father's government-at least not an official one.
"I'm going to be a daughter," she said. "Wage equality, childcare. These are things that are very important for me. I'm very passionate about education. Really promoting more opportunities for women. So you know, there're a lot of things that I feel deeply, strongly about. But not in a formal administrative capacity."
We're only into week two of Trump's President-elect status, and it already appears that "formal administrative capacity" is merely semantics when it comes to Ivanka. On Thursday, she sat in on her father's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump Tower. Press pool reporters were not given access to the discussion, so it is unclear what role she played. We only know she was there because the Japanese cabinet public relations office shared a photo of the meeting.
Ivanka Trump sat in on her father's meeting today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, per handout photo pic.twitter.com/tEbfYYeJFA- Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) November 18, 2016
Legally, her father couldn't appoint her to an official position in his White House, even if she wanted one.
Established under the Johnson administration, in what many saw as a reaction to President Kennedy's appointment of his brother Bobby as Attorney General, the Federal Anti-Nepotism laws state that "A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official."
Liptak spoke with Steve Vladeck, a CNN contributor and law professor about that prospect: "While it's true that the penalty for violation of the statute is just to withhold salary or other financial remuneration from the wrongfully appointed employee," Vladeck said. "There's also the possibility that any action taken by such a wrongfully appointed employee could be subject to legal challenge and potentially even be voidable."
So then what-if any-role will Trump's kids play in his government?
For now, the oldest children, Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr. are fulfilling two duties that appear to be profoundly at odds with one another. First, they each hold a position on Trump's transition team, a small group of loyal advisors helping to fill the President-elect's cabinet and lay the groundwork for his early days in office. Trump's younger daughter Tiffany was excluded from the team, as was his 10-year-old son, Barron. But like in the campaign, his son-in-law Kushner plays a key role.
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Trump has also said that he will relinquish control of his corporate interests to his children, in a "blind trust" that the Washington Post described as "neither blind nor trustworthy."
"What happens when the Trump kids, having played a role in picking the leaders of this department, need a favor, or oppose a regulation?" columnist Ruth Marcus asked. "You might say that Trump administration officials might feel beholden to the Trump Organization whether or not Ivanka was on the transition team, but that is hardly comforting."
This week, there was some back and forth over whether the Trump transition team had requested security clearance for his older three children or his son-in-law Kushner. The New York Times is now reporting that "no security clearance is coming for Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner," citing sources close to the Trump transition who say that the couple have no intention to apply for it.
Either way, it's becoming clear that official or not, the Trump children will be playing some role in their father's administration, and for the Trump Organization, business as usual will be anything but for the next four years.
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