President Barack Obama is set to deliver his farewell address to the nation Tuesday evening from his hometown of Chicago, as he seeks to defend his legacy as the calendar turns to the age of Trump. Obama will be joined by his most loyal supporters, staffers, and some of the Americans who have benefited under his administration, particularly from the imperiled Affordable Care Act. Obama will harken back to his time as a community organizer and as an inspirational candidate in 2008 as he seeks to rejuvenate despondent Democrats after the last election, while encouraging to keep up the fight for his legacy. Meanwhile, he is quietly rebuilding his political operation and returning to campaigning for the still-troubled Democratic National Committee, which languished under his presidency. But Obama also instructed his staff to ensure that the speech also reaches out to those who voted for President-elect Donald Trump.
The confirmation hearings for Trump’s intended nominees are underway, kicking off with Sen. Jeff Sessions for the post of Attorney General. In a lengthy opening statement, Sessions promised to faithfully enforce the law if elected, while seeking to defend himself from charges from Democratic and civil rights groups questioning his commitment and record on civil rights issues.
Trump is testing the limits of federal anti-nepotism laws with the selection of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to be a senior adviser in the White House. Federal statute both prohibits the hiring of a son-in-law, even by a president, and from paying that person. Kushner will not take a salary in an effort to be more compliant with the law and to mitigate any potential legal challenge. Democrats are already calling for a Justice Department investigation, but it appears that the Trump position will be to argue that the restriction on whom a president can select for jobs is an unconstitutional restriction on his appointment powers.
A field day for business lobbyists. Cory Booker to take a stand against Sessions. And Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway suggests he may roll back Russia sanctions.
Here are your must reads:
Barack Obama’s Farewell Address and 6 Other Memorable Presidential Goodbyes
The story of America can be told through these messages [TIME]
Jared Kushner Named Senior White House Adviser to Donald Trump
Testing anti-nepotism laws [New York Times]
In Final Speech, Obama Must Reconcile His Hopes With Trump’s
His legacy is on the line [Associated Press]
Conway Dismisses Need for Independent Hack Probe
Says Trump may reconsider sanctions on Russia [USA Today]
In Donald Trump’s Washington, Business Lobbyists Champ at the Bit
Energy companies, airlines and others have launched lobbying blitzes amid renewed hope for pro-business policy changes [Wall Street Journal]
“He is somebody who I think is not lacking in confidence, which is … probably a prerequisite for the job, or at least you have to have enough craziness to think that you can do the job.” — President Obama to ABC News on his successor
“I abhor the Klan, and what that it represents, and its hateful ideology.” — Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s intended nominee to be Attorney General, in the opening statement of his confirmation hearing
Bits and Bites
Trump transition team weighs keeping on Obama’s deputy defense secretary [Washington Post]