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Obama Talks GITMO In Parting Letter to Congress and More In Politics Today

by Countable | 1.19.17

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1. "In last-day letter to Congress, Obama concedes defeat on Guantanamo closure"

"President Obama conceded defeat in his eight-year effort to close the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Thursday, telling Congress that “history will cast a harsh judgment" on its decision to block the shutdown of the facility.”

"In a letter addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate President Pro Tem Orrin Hatch, an exasperated Obama condemned members of Congress for “placing politics above the ongoing costs to taxpayers" and straining relationships with allies who have condemned what they see as human rights abuses at the prison.”

Read more at USA Today.

2. "Spicer: Trump inaugural address to be a ‘philosophical document’"

President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural address will be a "philosophical document" rather than a description of policy plans, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday.

"The president-elect continues to make edits and additions to his inaugural address," Spicer told reporters at a briefing. “It’s going to be a very personal and sincere statement about his vision for the country. He will discuss what it means to be an American and the challenges that we face.”

Read more at Politico.

3. "Obama assembles his post-presidential team"

"President Obama has assembled a staff led by a longtime White House spokesman to help him navigate his post-presidential career."

"Obama has tapped Eric Schultz, currently his principal deputy press secretary, as a senior adviser at his new personal office in Washington."

"Schultz will develop a strategy for Obama’s public profile and coordinate with Democrats on Capitol Hill, liberal activists and alumni from the White House and his campaigns."

Read more at The Hill.

4. "Watch: Rick Perry and Al Franken Share Awkward ‘Saturday Night Live’ Soundbite"

"Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has struggled mightily over the past eight years to downplay his previous career as a writer and performer for Saturday Night Live so that he might be taken more seriously as a member of Congress. But sometimes, his natural comedic abilities can’t help but shine through."

"His turn to question Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for energy secretary, during a Thursday confirmation hearing, was one of those times. Yet it was Perry who made the inadvertent joke."

Read more at The Daily Beast.

5. "Sen. Roberts Cracks Joke About Wyden Needing Valium For Mnuchin Hearing, Sen. Brown Takes Offense"

"Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) cracks a joke about Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Finance, needing a Valium for the confirmation hearing of Steven Mnuchin, President-Elect's nominee for Secretary of Treasury. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) took offense at the "tone" Sen. Roberts set."

Read more at RealClearPolitics.

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Pete Souza - White House / Public Domain)

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