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President-Elect Donald Trump will find that being in the White House will “shake him up pretty quick, says Barack Obama

Obama leaves Monday on the final planned foreign trip of his presidency, with stops in Greece, Germany and Peru

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President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady press briefing room at the White House in Washington, Nov. 14, 2016. VOA
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Nov 14, 2016: President Barack Obama says good sound bites do not always make good policy, and he says President-elect Donald Trump will find that being in the White House will “shake him up pretty quick.”

Obama held his first White House news conference Monday since Trump’s stunning election upset over Hillary Clinton last week.

The president already had held a White House meeting with Trump and said he believes the incoming president is not as ideological as people think, and that he will be a pragmatic leader as long as he is surrounded by good people.

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President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. VOA
President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. VOA

Obama said he is leaving the country in better shape than it was when he took power in 2009, when the economy was on the verge of a depression and there were a “huge number of fires” to put out. He said Trump will have the “time and space to make judicious decisions,” and that the infamous Trump temperament will not always serve him well.

The president said those who oppose Trump have to recognize that this is the way democracy works. He appealed to them to let Trump make his decisions, saying the American people will judge if they like what they see.

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But Obama said Trump’s election — in which total voter turnout was only about 55 percent and Trump lost the popular vote but still won the Electoral College — is a reminder that elections matter and votes count. He wondered aloud how many times the country has to learn that lesson.

Overseas trip

Obama leaves Monday on the final planned foreign trip of his presidency, with stops in Greece, Germany and Peru.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the trip is a signal of solidarity with the country’s closest allies, and a way to show “support for a strong and integrated and united Europe.”

Rhodes said to reporters in previewing the trip that no matter the outcome of the election, Obama and the rest of his administration have a stake in seeing the next one succeed, and that the world also has a similar interest.

Rhetoric and reality

Trump has repeatedly spoken against international agreements reached during Obama’s presidency, including the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the international climate deal that went into effect last month, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that has not yet cleared the U.S. Senate.

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Obama said during his news conference that Iran is a good example of the “gap between some of the rhetoric and the reality.” He said it is easy to call an agreement terrible if you are not responsible for it.

He said the evidence shows Iran has been abiding by the nuclear agreement signed last year with the U.S. and five major allies. He said it would be hard to explain why the deal is being unraveled, and that the U.S. would have to sanction the other countries that would still be a part of it. (VOA)

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Haspel, Trump’s Choice For CIA Director, Withdraws Her Name

Taken aback at her stance, senior White House aides, including legislative affairs head Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, rushed to meet Haspel at her office late Friday afternoon.

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Donald Trump.
To Lower Drug Costs at Home, Trump Wants Higher Prices Abroad. (Wikimedia Commons)

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA, has offered to withdraw her nomination after some White House officials raised concerns about her ability to get confirmed, the media reported.

Haspel told the White House she was interested in stepping aside if it avoided the spectacle of a brutal confirmation hearing on Wednesday and potential damage to the Central Intelligence Agency’s reputation and her own, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

She was summoned to the White House on Friday for a meeting on her history in the CIA’s controversial interrogation programme – which employed techniques such as waterboarding that are widely seen as torture – and signaled that she was going to withdraw her nomination.

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to head the CIA, has offered to withdraw her nomination after some White House officials raised concerns about her ability to get confirmed, the media reported.
CIA, USA- wikimedia commons

She then returned to CIA headquarters, informed officials told The Washington Post.

Taken aback at her stance, senior White House aides, including legislative affairs head Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, rushed to meet Haspel at her office late Friday afternoon.

Haspel, who serves as the CIA’s deputy director and has spent 33 years in the agency, most of it undercover, faces some opposition in Congress because of her connection to the interrogation programme, which was set up after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

In 2002, Haspel oversaw a secret CIA detention facility in Thailand, where one Al Qaeda suspect was waterboarded.

Three years later, Haspel was involved in the CIA’s destruction of nearly 100 videotapes that recorded the detainees’ interrogations, launching an investigation by a special prosecutor who ultimately decided not to bring charges against those involved.

An administration official told The Washington Post that the nomination remains on track.

Also Read: North Korea Accuses US of Pressurising, Says It Will Harm Peace 

“There is a hearing prep session today, courtesy calls with senators Monday and Tuesday, and classified materials will be delivered to Senate security so senators can read the real record instead of relying on gossip and unfounded smears,” the official added.

A CIA spokesperson told CNN on Sunday: “There has been a fascinating phenomenon over the last few weeks. Those who know the true Gina Haspel — who worked with her, who served with her, who helped her confront terrorism, Russia and countless other threats to our nation — they almost uniformly support her.

“When the American people finally have a chance to see the true Gina Haspel on Wednesday, they will understand why she is so admired and why she is and will be a great leader for this Agency.” (IANS)