President Obama's final press conference tackled the importance of defending voting rights and a free press. Additionally, the president sent out a reassurance that "at my core, I think we're going to be OK."
The day before addressing the press, Obama was busy with a large amount of last-minute presidential maneuvers, including pardoning national security leaker Chelsea Manning.
Although she was sentenced to 35 years, the president felt that she had served enough time in comparison to other security leakers.
“Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence,” the president said. “So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think it goes unpunished, I don’t think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea manning has served.”
President Obama continued to explain that his pardon seemed like the most logical action to take.
“It has been my view that, given she went to trial, that due process was carried out, that she took responsibility for her crime, that the sentence that she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers have received, and that she had served a significant amount of time, that it makes sense to commute — and not pardon — her sentence,” Obama said.
Although the incoming president has stressed a possibility of strengthening ties with Moscow, President Obama sent a warning to the new administration.
Obama said that a constructive U.S.-Russia relationship is "in America's interest and the world's interest."
He also said the Russia's president has not been the warmest and most welcoming to the U.S.
Putin's "adversarial spirit" had "made the relationship more difficult," Obama said.
"We are accountable to the people who send us here. And you have done it," Obama said to the press. "You're not supposed to be sycophants. You're supposed to be skeptics."
In expressing a sentiment very different from Trump, who has gone off on tirades against the press, Obama encouraged them to hold the incoming president accountable for his actions.
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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