- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President Barack Obama’s final days in office (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

The White House says the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba will still be open when President Barack Obama leaves office.

The Obama administration is acknowledging publicly for the first time that Obama will be unable to fulfill a core campaign promise. Although it’s long been clear he wouldn’t be able to shutter the prison, the White House had continued to maintain he was working toward closing it.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says it became clear Obama couldn’t fulfill the goal after the administration entered its final 30 days. By law the president must give Congress 30 days’ notice of detainee transfers.

Congress repeatedly blocked Obama from closing it. Earnest says politics in both parties was to blame.


2:45 p.m.

President Barack Obama and his family will fly to Palm Springs, California, for a vacation just after Donald Trump is sworn in as president on Friday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama will be joined by first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia for the traditional departure of the ex-president from Washington. They’ll use the presidential airplane, but it won’t be referred to as Air Force One because that designation only applies when the current president is on board.

The Obamas aren’t expected to have public events while in California. It’s unclear how long they’ll stay, but eventually they’ll return to Washington as private citizens.

Obama and his family have rented a home in Washington and plan to live there until youngest daughter Sasha finishes high school.


12:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to the final daily press briefing with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

Obama praised Earnest Tuesday for “his smarts and his maturity,” but added that one of his best qualities has been his integrity.

Obama says Earnest is “tough and didn’t always give you guys what you wanted,” but that he tried to make sure to share as much of the administration’s vision and policy as possible.

Earnest praised the journalists attending the briefing, saying that they serve a role that is a “uniquely American feature of our government.

He said, “it’s made President Obama a better president and a better civil servant.”

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