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    White House Tag

    On Tuesday, President Barack Obama invoked a provision of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands act, a law from 1953, that allowed him to place "a permanent drilling ban on portions of the ocean floor from Virginia to Maine and along much of Alaska's coast." Overall, it adds up to almost 120 million acres! No other president has used this provision to protect such a large part of federal waters before and he promised not even President-elect Donald Trump could undo this declaration. But Alaska lawmakers Sen. Dan Sullivan, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and Rep. Dan Young said they want to find a way to draft legislation to overturn Obama's actions:
    "The sweeping withdrawal disrespects the Alaskan people, is not based on sound science, and contradicts the administration's own conclusions about Arctic development," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young said late Tuesday. "It will have lasting consequences for Alaska's economy, state finances, and the security and competitiveness of the nation. In making the decision, President Obama yet again sided with extreme environmentalists, while betraying his utter lack of commitment to improving the lives of the people who actually live in the Arctic."

    The U.S. Treasury Department released more sanctions against Russians and Russian companies for Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea in March 2014. The Kremlin has lashed out against these new sanctions, saying the government may respond:
    "We regret that Washington is continuing on this destructive path," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. "We believe this damages bilateral relations ... Russia will take commensurate measures."

    PRECIOUS! During an interview with NPR, President Barack Obama advised president-elect Donald Trump not to abuse the executive orders privilege:
    Should President-elect Trump, once he's inaugurated, use his executive powers in the same way that you have? I think that he is entirely within his lawful power to do so. Keep in mind though that my strong preference has always been to legislate when I can get legislation done. In my first two years, I wasn't relying on executive powers, because I had big majorities in the Congress and we were able to get bills done, get bills passed. And even after we lost the majorities in Congress, I bent over backwards consistently to try to find compromise and a legislative solution to some of the big problems that we've got — a classic example being immigration reform, where I held off for years in taking some of the executive actions that I ultimately took in pursuit of a bipartisan solution — one that, by the way, did pass through the Senate on a bipartisan basis with our help.

    White House staffers placed four snowmen in the Rose Garden for Christmas decorations, but a few decided to use them as pranks on President Barack Obama after he called them creepy:
    In an Instagram post this weekend, Souza showed a snowman decoration looking in on Obama through a window in the Oval office. Many online saw the photo and commented the snowman looked as if it were stalking the president. In the post, Souza explained it was part of a prank.

    With President-elect Donald Trump a month away from taking the White House, President Barack Obama's administration has put pressure on Cuba's regime to make deals with GE and Google for the companies to operate on the island:
    White House officials are unsure how Mr. Trump, the president-elect, will approach Mr. Obama’s Cuba policy. He has said he would reverse the effort to build relations, and this week wrote on Twitter that “if Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate the deal.”

    President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama met at the White House for around 90 minutes to discuss transition of power. Trump called Obama a very good man and hopes to work with him in the future, while Obama called the meeting excellent:
    Obama said the two men talked about foreign policy and domestic policy and said he was encouraged by Trump's interest in working together during the transition. "As I said last night, my No. 1 priority in the next two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our President-elect is successful," Obama said.

    The Republican National Committee (RNC) provided a few documents to The Wall Street Journal that shows the White House worked with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign over her private email server when she served as secretary of state:
    Their discussion included a request from the White House communications director to her counterpart at the State Department to see if it was possible to arrange for Secretary of State John Kerry to avoid questions during media appearances about Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement. In another instance, a top State Department official assured an attorney for Mrs. Clinton that, contrary to media reports, a department official hadn’t told Congress that Mrs. Clinton erred in using a private email account.

    The White House held a State of Women Summit this week and for some reason, chose Vice President Joe Biden to represent the Obama administration at the event. Joe Biden isn't guilty of any crimes against women but he does have a demonstrable habit of being a little too intimate with ladies. Wired has a report on the summit:
    VP Biden: Changing Rape Culture Will Take All of Us Biden, speaking today at the White House State of Women Summit, made two things abundantly clear: violence against women is an epidemic, and the country is a long, long way from eradicating it.

    Bret Baier of FOX News recently did a report on how the military has shrunk under Obama, and the response was so great, he went back and aired interviews that didn't make it into the program. Baier spoke with three of Obama's former secretaries of defense, and they all told a similar story. The Washington Free Beacon has more:
    Obama’s Former Pentagon Chiefs: Military Suffered From Overbearing, Inexperienced White House The U.S. military has been hindered by an overbearing and inexperienced White House under President Barack Obama, according to each of his three former defense secretaries, causing the Pentagon to struggle to carry out operations and make decisions.

    What better way to start the new year than a little "audacious" executive action? White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, "we’ll do audacious executive action throughout the course of the rest of the year, I am confident of that." The Hill has the story:
    The comments are a clear sign the president will continue his go-it-alone approach, which has angered Republicans in Congress.

    Monday morning, the White House announced they'd added another social media platform to their repertoire -- Snapchat. Beginning as an app that allowed users to privately share photo messages with friends, messages that would vanish after viewing (it's biggest selling point early on), Snapchat quickly evolved to include video messaging, a chat feature, and most recently, Story Explorer. Story Explorer allows users to take videos or photos and add them to their "Story"; essentially, the apps version of a public profile. Unique to Snapchat, Story Explorer has become more than a personalized user perspective and is now used by media outlets, brands of various kinds, and as of today -- the White House. The White House explained:

    Chuck Hagel was Obama's third Defense Secretary--the other two: Robert Gates and Leon Panetta--to leave his position under difficult circumstances. As late as November 19, 2014, Hagel told Charlie Rose that he didn't wake up in the morning worried about his job, and in less than a week, on the 24th of November, news broke that Hagel had "stepped down."  Despite the rumors addressed by Rose, people were surprised by the news, and Joe Biden is reported to have been "ticked off" by the move. At the time, The New York Times reported that Hagel had stepped down "under pressure" from the White House.
    Aides said Mr. Obama made the decision to remove his defense secretary on Friday after weeks of rising tension over a variety of issues, including what administration officials said were Mr. Hagel’s delays in transferring detainees from the military prison in Guantánamo Bay and a dispute with Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, over Syria policy.

    Only in Washington D.C. would someone like Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta still have a job. In a hearing Thursday, Archueleta was questioned by an annoyed Sen. McCain over the agency's massive data breach, now believed to be much worse than originally reported. Fox News reported Thursday that the White House intentionally hid the extent of the OPM hack:
    The Obama administration reportedly concealed the true amount of information compromised by a cyberattack on the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for several days after the initial disclosure of the hack, according to a published report. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the day after the White House admitted that hackers had breached personnel files, OPM publicly denied that the security clearance forms had been compromised despite receiving information to the contrary from the FBI. The administration did not say that security clearance forms had likely been accessed by the intruders until more than a week had passed. A OPM spokeswoman denied the claims, telling the Journal the agency had been "completely consistent" in its reporting of the data breach.
    Thursday, Senator McCain grilled Archuleta, attempting to get solid answer about the scope of the OPM data breach. Aruchuelta had few answers and often deferred to colleagues in other federal agencies. On the Sony hacking by China, Archuleta had no answer. On the issue of prescription and other health related data breaches, Archuleta also had no answer. It's almost like there's a theme here...

    Friday, House Democrats bucked President Obama when they voted to torpedo "trade authority." As Amy wrote this morning:
    The debate surrounding congressional approval of “fast track” trade authority has officially taken a swan dive through the looking glass. Obama wants it. House republicans want it. Democrats, for the most part, are ready to vote “no”—their union backers are making them more nervous than the White House ever could—even if it prevents their president from advancing more legacy-building legislation.
    This afternoon, the AP reports with Nancy Pelosi at the helm, House Democrats sunk President Obama's trade authority hopes. From Yahoo News:

    Somewhere in America, Jon Stewart's brain is dribbling out of his ears. Today, fast food chain McDonald's announced that former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs will be joining the company as its global chief communications officer. He'll be managing the department that manages government and public affairs. More from the official press release:
    In his new role, Gibbs will lead McDonald's corporate relations group, which manages internal and external communications and government and public affairs. He will lead McDonald's in communicating clear, coordinated messages to internal and external constituencies, enhancing the brand and supporting corporate strategies. Gibbs joins McDonald's from The Incite Agency, a strategic communications advisory firm he co-founded in 2013. Prior to that he held several senior advisory roles in the White House, serving as President Barack Obama's press secretary during his first term, then as senior campaign advisor during his re-election campaign. He will replace Bridget Coffing who announced her retirement earlier this year after 30 years with the company.
    There's something delicious about this, no?

    We in the conservative media have spent a great deal of time over the past 6 years criticizing the Obama comms shop for freezing the media out of its most controversial decisions. Conservatives are used to a biased press pool, and for the most part, this group hasn't disappointed in that regard, even when they haven't had all the information they needed to write a story. Apparently, though, the lack of information flowing from the White House to the press pool has slowed to a trickle---and the corps is ready to fight back. The White House Correspondents Association is preparing a list of demands promises they hope the White House will commit to. The corps has been working on the list for over a year, but a recent snub on the part of the President's team has kicked the conversation about press access into high gear. The Washington Examiner explains what happened:
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