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Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the committee, challenged Tillerson over his relationship with Russia.

Where the first day of Jeff Sessions' attorney general confirmation hearing focused on what the Alabama senator's relationship would be with the president if confirmed, the second day focused on his own past.

Sessions, a former Alabama attorney general, has a reputation for being tough on crime, but civil rights advocates testified that his reputation was made on the backs of vulnerable groups. Lawmakers who have worked with him, on the other hand, said they knew a just and fair man.

"We must bend" the arc of the moral universe

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It's been over 160 days since Donald Trump last gave a press conference. On Wednesday, as he holds his first as President-elect, questions abound regarding the type of president he'll be.

Certainly Trump's cabinet picks, promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and remarks on nuclear weapons will be among the many items asked about. But whether he gives clear, informed answers rather than the off-script, stream of consciousness he's become known for remains to be seen.

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons

For the first time in 167 days, President-elect Donald Trump held a press conference in New York City on Wednesday.

Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET on Wednesday

Top U.S. intelligence officials have briefed leaders in Washington about an explosive — but unverified — document that alleges collusion between Russia and President-elect Donald Trump, NPR has learned.

The brief, which NPR has seen but not independently verified, was given by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain to FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9. Details from it have been part of presentations by Comey and other intelligence leaders to Trump, President Obama and key leaders in Congress.

Pete Souza / White House

Last night night, President Obama delivered his farewell address to the nation. The speech was - let’s say, juxtaposed - with news that intelligence officials have briefed both Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump about reports that Russia had gathered “salacious” and compromising material about Trump. Although, it’s unclear what exactly counts as salacious anymore. 

Pete Souza / White House

With 10 days left in the White House, President Barack Obama returned to his hometown of Chicago, Illinois to give his farewell address to the United States. It came exactly one month shy of the 10 year anniversary of Obama's entrance into the 2008 presidential race.

Donald Trump has named his son-in-law to a top White House job. Jared Kushner will serve as a senior adviser to the president, and the transition team says he will work with incoming Chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon "to execute President-elect Trump's agenda."

The announcement also says Kushner will not receive a salary while serving in the Trump administration, which could help alleviate legal problems stemming from federal anti-nepotism law.

The week before Donald Trump takes the oath of office will set the stage for his entry into the Oval Office. Not only will at least nine of his Cabinet nominees begin their Senate confirmation hearings, but the president-elect himself will face reporters at a long-awaited press conference, where he may address how he plans to separate his business interests from his presidency.

On top of that, President Obama steps into the spotlight one last time, on Tuesday evening in Chicago, for a farewell address in which he's likely to frame his legacy.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

The Office of Government Ethics is raising alarm over the pace of confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump's nominees, saying Saturday that they have yet to receive required financial disclosures for some picks set to come before Congress next week.

There's a new narrative solidifying in Washington: President-elect Donald Trump distrusts the U.S. intelligence community because it's been sounding the alarm on Russia's interference in the November election. In turn, this feeds a growing sense of dread among U.S. intelligence professionals that the president-elect and his inner circle will ignore or undermine the intelligence community at every opportunity.

On a cold night in January nine years ago, Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses. That first big step on the young senator's unlikely path to the White House was fueled by an army of campaign volunteers, which Obama later called one of his proudest legacies.

"That's what America needs right now," Obama told campaign workers a year later, after he was sworn in as president. "Active citizens like you, who are willing to turn towards each other, talk to people you've never met, and say, 'C'mon, let's go do this. Let's go change the world.' "

Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. secretary of state, is severing his ties with Exxon Mobil. The former chairman and CEO is in line to receive a $180 million retirement package.

In the Washington of 2016, even when the policy can be bipartisan, the politics cannot. And in that sense, this year shows little sign of ending on Dec. 31.

When President Obama moved to sanction Russia over its alleged interference in the U.S. election just concluded, some Republicans who had long called for similar or more severe measures could scarcely bring themselves to approve.

Chion Wolf

Connecticut’s own Linda McMahon goes to Washington next year, hoping to be confirmed as head of the Small Business Administration. She was tapped recently by President-elect Donald Trump, a longtime friend who she supported during the campaign.

But what will the former wrestling magnate bring to her new role as cheerleader for small businesses? 

President Obama has promised to take action in response to findings by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia hacked computers at the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic political groups. And one of Donald Trump's first big decisions as president may be whether to continue down the chosen path.

Connecticut environmental groups say they oppose President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Oklahoma Republican Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.  

This week, President Obama announced what he called a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic seaboard.

President-elect Donald Trump is rounding out his White House team — installing several trusted campaign advisers to senior West Wing positions.

Kellyanne Conway will serve as counselor to the president, the transition team announced on Thursday. Sean Spicer will be press secretary, and Jason Miller has been named director of communications.

President Obama sees a role for himself in rebuilding the Democratic Party after he leaves office — coach.

DVIDSHUB / Creative Commons

Last year was a landmark year for the U.S. military and its servicemembers. For the first time, women were granted equal access to all military combat roles

Since Donald Trump won the presidential election last month, his conflicts of interest have come into sharper focus.

Ethics experts say that to clearly separate his role as president from his role as businessman, he must sell off his holdings. Trump has so far rejected that recommendation, saying via Twitter that he intends to have his two oldest sons run the Trump Organization.

But those sons have been deeply engaged in the transition work of the incoming Trump administration.

President Obama said Friday he is leaving behind a more prosperous and safe country than the one he inherited from his predecessor.

"Almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than it was eight years ago," the president said at a White House news conference on Friday before the Obama family's departure to Hawaii for its annual holiday vacation.

President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday he will nominate bankruptcy attorney David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel. Friedman, who has no prior diplomatic experience, is an outspoken supporter of Jewish settlement on the Israeli-occupied West Bank and has questioned the need for a Palestinian state.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Five hundred thirty-eight members of the Electoral College meet Monday in state capitols across the U.S. to cast their votes for the next president -- and Connecticut U.S. Congressman Jim Himes is calling on them to reject President-elect Donald Trump.

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