What will Obama discuss at 2:15 p.m. press conference? Here's what to expect.
At 2:15 p.m. Eastern, President Barack Obama will take to the White House's press briefing room for his final press conference of the year — and possibly the last of his presidency.
The press conference, the Independent Journal Review reported, is part of an annual tradition for Obama, who traditionally takes questions from the media before he and his family depart the White House for their annual Christmas trip to Hawaii. The Obamas leave for Honolulu at 5:25 p.m.
This final press conference is sure to include questions on a wide variety of topics, including the current threats to the Affordable Care Act, President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet picks and the ongoing investigation into allegations of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. Here are just a few things that the president is likely to talk about.
Russian interference in the election
One of the biggest topics currently facing the nation, of course, is the alleged role Russia played in the presidential election. In excerpts from an interview with NPR published yesterday, Obama declared his intention to "take action" against the Russian hacks — that "action" is something the press will almost certainly ask the president about today.
"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections ... we need to take action," Obama told NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be."
The ongoing bombing and destruction in Aleppo is likely the most pressing crisis the international community faces right now. Tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped in the Syrian city, and a ceasefire enacted to evacuate the war-torn civilians was halted early Friday, as a convoy leaving Aleppo was attacked. It's very likely that Obama will be fielding questions about the ongoing crisis, which the United Nations has called "a complete meltdown of humanity."
The transfer of power
As 2016 and Obama's presidency come to an end, this press conference will likely present the president with an opportunity to reflect on the events of the year and his historic presidency, as well as what his legacy will be in the years ahead.
The press will also likely take the opportunity to urge Obama to share his thoughts on passing the presidency to Trump amid ongoing turmoil regarding the allegations of Russian hacking, Trump's controversial cabinet picks, the president-elect's refusal to attend daily intelligence briefings, his numerous conflicts of interest and any other controversies that have emerged since the election.
Following Trump's election, Obama told the country:
"I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush's team set eight years ago, and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect. Because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world."
Will Obama still project that same optimism and willingness to work with Trump now? We'll have to wait until 2:15 p.m. to find out.