When Trump chose Kushner for his role as senior adviser, it raised hackles among ethics experts. Typically, anti-nepotism rules—enacted after John F. Kennedy appointed his brother Robert as attorney general—prevent presidents from naming close relatives to top posts, so as to avoid the bestowing of favors and money at taxpayer expense on family members, especially un- or under-qualified ones. Kushner has no experience that would lead one to believe he has the chops to reorganize the government or solve the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for example.
Trump skirted those rules in Kushner’s case because Kushner was a West Wing, rather than agency, appointee, and because he waived his paycheck. But the threat that Kushner’s tangled connections on Russia pose to the president now suggests that the anti-nepotism law doesn’t just protect the public but can protect the president as well. After months of acrimony, Trump has summoned the strength to fire members of his administration who cause complications, from Steve Bannon to Anthony Scaramucci to Sebastian Gorka, but some staffers are easier to push out than others. No matter how much his presence threatens your administration, it’s pretty tough to fire your own son-in-law.