Donald Trump is reportedly seeking high-level security clearances for his children and wife, creating a potential conflict of interest and more legal hurdles for the president-elect.
Trump has been inquiring about securing top-secret clearances for Donald Jr, Ivanka, Melania and Eric, according to a CBS report. All of Trump’s children and his wife are a part of his transition team, although the president-elect has stated that none of them will hold a formal role in his administration. The family will reportedly run the business while he is in the Oval Office.
Bradley Moss, a lawyer who specializes in security-clearance laws, told The Daily Beast, “This is why we created the nepotism law in the first place. Huge conflicts of interest.”
From a legal standpoint, it is still uncertain whether the request could be fulfilled. A law enacted in 1967 prevents presidents from appointing family members as members of the administration. Security clearance can only be granted to individuals who work for the government.
No informal positions exist that would allow for such security clearances, and the president-elect would likely not have a valid reason for granting his family such clearances.
A former Obama administration official stated that Trump may not actually be seeking clearances that would grant his family access to the nation’s secrets. Rather, the president-elect may be looking to give his family clearance to enter certain areas of the West Wing. First Ladies must be given clearances to enter certain parts of the White House, but do not have clearance to enter top-secret areas.
If the president-elect’s children were granted high-level access while running Trump’s businesses, it would undoubtedly be a conflict of interest.
Ivanka Trump, the president-elect’s daughter, stated that she was not interested in a formal role in the administration. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. will be running Trump’s businesses from New York.
Trump’s team denies seeking such clearances for his family.