barack-obama

Barack Obama Has Left the Building, Or At Least the Brady Room
Obama's hope fades a bit: 'I think we’re going to be OK'

At his final news conference as president, Obama wished the press, and the country, luck. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In his final press conference as president, Barack Obama warned that economic and other forces could further divide Americans, and sent messages anew to Donald Trump, particularly that he could re-enter the political arena if “our core values may be at stake.”

Less than 48 hours before he will cede all powers of the presidency to Trump, the 55-year-old Obama, with more salt than pepper atop his head, showed flashes of the optimistic candidate who toppled both Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during the 2008 presidential campaign. But by the end of the session, his concerns about the next four years appear to show through.

Mike Pence Tells Mayors Infrastructure Bill Will Be ‘Big’
Obama commutations draw a crowd

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, pictured here with House GOP leaders, on Tuesday let a group of U.S. mayors know the incoming Trump administration plans to push a “big” infrastucture bill. How to pay for the measure, however, will be a major hurdle. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President-elect Donald Trump wanted a group of U.S. mayors gathered in Washington to know his administration will be a “friend” starting Friday, when he will be sworn in.

So he instructed his vice president-in-waiting, Mike Pence, to deliver a message to them on Tuesday when he addressed their conference: “Tell ‘em we’re going to do an infrastructure bill, and it’s going to be big,” the Republican president-elect said during a phone conversation with Pence.

Low Approval Ratings Could Speed Possible Trump-GOP Clash
President-elect at 40 percent in 2 polls, around half of Obama’s 2009 rating

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the opinion polls that show him with a lower transition rating than his predecessors were “rigged.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump tried to cast doubts Tuesday on his low approval ratings, but the numbers — around half of those of his predecessor in 2009 — could accelerate an emerging collision with his own party. 

Two new polls put Trump’s approval rating at 40 percent just three days before he will be sworn in as the 45th president. At the same point in President Barack Obama’s transition period eight years ago, one of those polls, conducted by CNN/ORC International, had his approval rating at 84 percent.

Obama Doubts Trump Can Govern Via Twitter, Admits Some Missteps
Outgoing president: Bitter partisanship means ‘we’re weakening ourselves’

President Obama, Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrive in the Capitol Visitor Center on Jan. 4 for the meeting of House and Senate Democrats to discuss Obamacare. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama used his final national television interview to express doubts that Donald Trump will be able to effectively govern by firing off tweets and offered some advice about the president-elect’s feud with the intelligence community.

In a lengthy interview that aired Sunday evening on CBS’s “60 Minutes” news program, Obama also acknowledged some mistakes — a rarity for the outgoing chief executive. Among them were missteps he made in dealing with Congress.

White House Sees McAuliffe Playing Big Role for Dems in Post-Obama Era
Earnest floats notion next singular party leader is, for now, an unknown to most

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention last July. President Barack Obama sees him as a key part of the Democratic Party leadership team come Jan. 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Barack Obama expects the Democratic Party to transition to leadership by committee when he leaves office next Friday, and his top spokesman expects Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will play a major role. 

Asked Thursday to whom Obama will articulate concerns or offer advice, Press Secretary Josh Earnest pointed to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and the new Senate Minority Leader, Charles E. Schumer of New York, then added McAuliffe to the list.

Contrast Shows With Trump in Obama’s Farewell Address
Outgoing president calls for unity; Trump calls critics ‘stupid people’

President-elect Donald Trump talks after a meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Nov. 10. Obama's Tuesday evening farewell address showed their widely contrasting styles. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The friendly crowd in Chicago booed when President Barack Obama mentioned his fast-approaching return to private life when he will hand power to his successor, Donald Trump.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Obama stopped them, saying next Friday’s “peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected president to the next” a “hallmark of our democracy.”

Trump Facing Questions on Whether Russian Intel ‘Cultivated’ Him
President-elect, via Twitter, calls reports ’fake news’

A purported appendix to a U.S. intelligence assessment concluded that President-elect Donald Trump and his inner circle accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Here’s a question President-elect Donald Trump likely did not expect to be asked Wednesday during his first post-election press conference: Have you been “cultivated” by Russian intelligence for half a decade?

What was shaping up as a question-and-answer session about his business dealings, Cabinet picks, potential conflicts of interest involving his family and senior aides and repealing the 2010 health care law got an added wrinkle Tuesday evening.

Intelligence Officials Say Putin Ordered Campaign to Help Trump
Activities demonstrated a ’significant escalation in directness’

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. prepares to testify before the Senate Armed Services hearing on cyberthreats on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. presidential election to undermine confidence in American democracy, smear Hillary Clinton and, eventually, to help lift Donald Trump to victory, according to a declassified report from U.S. intelligence agencies.

The document, based on information and analysis from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency, spells out the U.S. spy agencies’ conclusions on what they say was Russia’s wide-ranging venture to interfere in the American vote.

Photos of the Week: Biden Schmoozes Through Last Swearing-In, Pence and Obama on the Hill
The week of Jan. 3 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. greets Barbara Grassley, wife of Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley, during the swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY BILL CLARK AND TOM WILLIAMS

The 115th Congress has officially convened and members have been sworn in. While Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is officially on his way out, he didn’t go quietly. His last Senate swearing in was filled with hugs, stories, selfies, and, yes, kisses.

White House Won’t Call Russia Hacking an Act of War
POTUS takes Kremlin-backed actions ‘quite seriously’

The Obama White House will not call Russian hacking to influence the U.S. election an act of war. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House on Thursday declined to classify what the intelligence community has concluded was a Kremlin-backed hacking campaign to influence the U.S. general election as an act of war. 

In retaliation for Russia’s actions on behalf of President-elect Donald Trump, President Barack Obama last week slapped new sanctions on Russia and expelled nearly three dozen Russian intelligence operatives from the United States. Obama aides have signaled covert actions have also been conducted.