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Obama holds final press conference as President

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Washington, Jan 19 : Barack Obama held his last press conference as the President of the US to offer an assured outlook for a country governed by Donald Trump who is slated to take charge on Friday, a media report said.

“At my core I think we’re going to be OK,” Obama said on Wednesday during the conference at the White House.

“We just have to fight for it, work for it, and not take it for granted.”

“I know that you will help us do that,” CNN quoted the President as saying.

In his question-and-answer session with reporters, Obama said that after two terms of political warfare with Republicans, he was emerging unbowed in his faith in the US and its citizens. But he continued to express concerns about his successor’s stance on Russia and his readiness for office.

“I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad,” Obama said.

“I believe tragic things happen. I think there’s evil in the world, but I think at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we’re true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time.”

Conceding that Trump may not take his advice on issues, Obama said he would avoid weighing in on specific policy matters during his post-presidency, using his time instead to write and “not hear myself talk so darn much”, CNN reported.

Obama also took advantage of the conference to defend the importance of guaranteeing freedom of the press, given that the president-elect has openly insulted several media outlets that he said are “dishonest”.

He said that a free press is “essential” to US democracy, and he took pains to provide an example to his successor by taking questions during the press conference from a wide variety of journalists: progressive, conservative, Latino, African American, foreign and a one specialising in reporting on LGBT rights issues, Efe news reported.

Obama also defended some of his recent moves as President, including his decision to eliminate the “wet foot, dry foot” policy on Cuban migrants, which he said represented “a carryover of an old way of thinking that didn’t make sense in this day and age” within the context of normalising relations with Cuba.

He also said that it made sense for him to commute the prison sentence of former US soldier Chelsea Manning, who in 2010 leaked numerous secret documents to WikiLeaks and who will be able to leave prison in May.

Despite Republican criticism, Obama said that he felt “very comfortable” with his decision on Manning, who “has served a tough prison sentence” after “due process was carried out,” and he added that he did not agree with the idea that her release sends a message that people who leak classified documents will remain unpunished.

He also defended his decision last December to have the US abstain from voting in the UN Security Council on – and not veto – a resolution condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, saying that he felt it was important to “send a signal, a wakeup call” to Israel that the time for implementing a two-state solution in the region may be ending.

Obama also referred to Trump’s recent remarks on the possibility of ending sanctions against Russia for its interference in Ukraine in exchange for cuts in the US and Russian nuclear arsenals.

“The reason we imposed the sanctions … was not because of nuclear weapons issues, it was because the independence and sovereignty of a country, Ukraine, had been encroached upon by force, by Russia. That wasn’t our judgment, that was the judgment of the entire international community,” he said, going on to advise Trump not to “confuse” the issue of Ukraine with nuclear matters.

The president closed the press conference on an optimistic note despite the fears of many regarding Trump’s election win and what it may portend for US domestic and international policy, Efe news added.

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Donald Trump to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12

The two leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and testing program, which has deepened long-seated tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore for a first ever summit between the leaders of the two countries.

“The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!” Trump said on Twitter.

The two leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and testing program, which has deepened long-seated tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

Trump’s announcement came just hours after three Americans who had been held prisoner in North Korea arrived at a U.S. military base outside Washington, having been released by Kim.

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Trump’s staffers walk out of White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer deemed the evening a “disgrace” in a tweet, to which Wolf replied: “Thanks!”

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Washington, April 29 : Members of Donald Trump’s administration walked out of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner after comedian Michelle Wolf ripped into them including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the absence of the US President who didn’t attend.

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Comedian Michelle Wolf

A year after the White House boycotted the annual dinner, the Director of Strategic Communications, Mercedes Schlapp, and her husband, conservative activist Matt Schlapp, were among those who marched out of the ballroom on Saturday night at the Washington Hilton long before Wolf’s keynote routine was over, reports Politico news.

Footage broadcast live on cable TV networks showed Sanders sitting at the head table on stage stone-faced, wincing and at times raising her eyebrows as Wolf compared her to a character on the dystopian “Handsmaid’s Tale” and to an “Uncle Tom” for white women.

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“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye,” Wolf joked about Sanders. “Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

Wolf laced into Trump and repeatedly brought up his comments from the “Access Hollywood” tape where he spoke of groping women.

Wolf opened her act with the line: “Good evening, here we are at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with Trump, let’s get this over with.”

Wolf’s other targets included Vice President Mike Pence, White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway and the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, Politico reported.

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer deemed the evening a “disgrace” in a tweet, to which Wolf replied: “Thanks!”

Echoing Spicer, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus called Wolf’s set “R/X rated” and said the performance left Trump as the clear winner.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who was honoured during the dinner for her reporting, said Sanders’ refusal to walk out amid the barbs was “impressive”.

Besides the administration, Wolf also hit out at the media but excluded the print media, because “it’s illegal to attack an endangered species”.

For the second year in a row, Trump avoided one of the annual highlights for a profession he has routinely called “the enemy of the American people”.

On Saturday, he was at a campaign rally in Michigan where he said a possible meeting between him and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un would take place in the next “three or four weeks”.

Begun in 1921, the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner has been attended by every President at least once during their term in office, beginning with President Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

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Trump says Kim Jong Un wants to meet ‘as soon as possible’ and that he’s ‘very honorable’

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  • President Donald Trump continued his recent trend of praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday by saying he was “very honorable” and “very open.”

  • Trump has a habit of mixing praise of Kim with threats, but has lately taken to praising the North Korean leader.

  • Trump is set to become the first US president to ever meet face to face with a North Korean leader after Kim made a set of stunning concessions and appeared to cave to US demands, but experts are skeptical.

President Donald Trump continued his recent trend of praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday by saying he was “very honorable” and “very open” ahead of a planned meeting between the two leaders.

“Kim Jong Un – he really has been very open and, I think, very honorable from everything we’re seeing,” Trump said to reporters, as French President Emmanuel Macron visited the White House.

Trump has proven eager to meet with and conduct diplomacy with Kim despite spending almost all of 2017 threatening North Korea with nuclear annihilation and responding to Pyongyang’s own threats.

But since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, and sweeping rounds of US-led sanctions after intercontinental ballistic missile tests and a massive nuclear test, Kim has opened himself up to diplomacy.

First North Korea offered to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in, then made the same offer to Trump, and then Kim unexpectedly went to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump reportedly accepted the offer to meet Kim without consulting his secretary of state at the time, Rex Tillerson. South Korea’s Moon was less eager, but ultimately agreed when Kim agreed to meet his conditions.

Trump previously said he’d be “honored” to talk to Kim, which he now looks likely to achieve.

He’s also expressed admiration for Kim’s leadership of North Korea, despite the fact that the regime runs labor camps that have been likened to Auschwitz in Nazi-controlled Europe.

“Not many 27-year-old men could go in and take over a regime … Say what you want, but that’s not easy – especially at that age,” Trump told ABC News before his inauguration in January 2016.

“How many young guys – he was like 26 or 25 when his father died – take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden … he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss,” Trump said. “You gotta give him credit.”

Trump is set to become the first US president to ever meet face to face with a North Korean leader after Kim made a set of stunning concessions and appeared to cave to US demands.

But experts warn Business Insider that North Korea has entered into and backed out of talks with the US before, and may simply be working to gain sanctions relief as the country’s economy falters.

 

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