Obama has 3 weeks left in the White House. Here are 3 things he can accomplish.
President Barack Obama has just 18 days until his time in the White House comes to an end and President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as the nation's 45th commander-in-chief.
And while that doesn't seem like a long time, there are still a few things left Obama can accomplish before he goes back to being a private citizen.
Over the past few weeks, Obama has taken actions to cement his legacy and prevent Trump from tarnishing it.
He declared parts of the Arctic "indefinitely off limits" for oil drilling; he named two national monuments in Utah and Nevada to protect the land from future energy projects; and he imposed sanctions on Russia for its alleged cyberattacks during the 2016 election, forcing Trump to either keep or lift the punishment when he's sworn in. He could continue to take those executive actions in the remaining days of his presidency.
There are also a handful of other things Obama can do before he and his family move out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Here they are:
As president, Obama has the power to both lower the sentences of convicted inmates serving time in prison, as well as pardon those charged with or convicted of crimes.
A commuted sentence lowers the sentence for someone convicted of a crime. A pardon forgives someone of a crime all together.
Obama has granted clemency and pardoned more than 1,300 people during his time as president, according to the New York Times, most for drug-related offenses.
Clemency requests are flooding in, including from Edward Snowden, currently exiled in Russia after being indicted on espionage charges for leaking classified information from the National Security Agency.
But the Obama administration says those who have applied for clemency may not get their wish.
"He does not expect to essentially ram through any pardons at the last minute," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, according to NPR. "There's an established process and the president believes that's a process that's worth following."
Box Trump in on Russia
With Trump praising Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as continually denying Russia's role in the cyberattacks during the 2016 election, Obama could publicly release information that directly ties Russia to the hacking of Democratic entities.
Since Trump has sowed doubt about Russia's role in the hacks, Obama could release that info to force Trump's hand from stripping the sanctions Obama imposed on Russia for the hacking.
Create a game plan for his party moving forward
As president, Obama is the de-facto leader of the Democratic Party.
And as the Democratic leader for the next three weeks, he can help members of his party come together to craft a unified game plan for how to deal with Trump when he takes office on Jan. 20.
Already, Obama plans to head to Capitol Hill to discuss ways to preserve the Affordable Care Act — his signature healthcare law — as Republicans in Congress gear up to repeal it.
He could also discuss how to work with or against Trump on other proposals, such as infrastructure spending or Trump's cabinet nominees.