Before he leaves for his native Hawaii for Christmas vacation, President Barack Obama is set to hold an end-of-the-year press conference at the White House at 1:30 p.m. EST Friday. The White House press corps has numerous subjects to grill him on, including his decision this week to take steps to normalize relations with Cuba, the Sony hack attack, the president’s executive actions on immigration, and the war against ISIS.
While these are the most likely areas for questions, there might also be some unpredictable queries lobbed the president’s way. You can catch the press conference on live stream below:
The year is ending at a time when the Obama administration is mired in controversies ranging from the executive actions on immigration to the monumental shift in Cuba policy, which came on Wednesday. Republicans slammed Obama on Cuba, arguing that the president didn’t get enough concessions from the Communist country on democratic and economic reforms. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest countered by saying the embargo that’s been in place for more than five decades hasn’t led to those types of reforms either.
“I would say that there was no evidence that they were more likely to do those things after the 53 or so years that this embargo has been in place,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “We do think that by putting in place a policy that allows for more openness and engagement, a policy that will empower the Cuban people, that there will be more pressure on the Cuban regime brought to bear to force them to better respect the basic political and human rights of their people.”
On the Sony hacking case, Earnest declined to confirm whether North Korea, as speculated, was actually behind the damaging attack that caused Sony Pictures to cancel its planned Christmas Day release of “The Interview.” The movie, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, involves the on-screen assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Obama, who urged Americans to “go to the movies,” is expected to give further details on the Sony hack when he addresses reporters Friday afternoon.
The president's last news conference was on Nov. 5, the day after the 2014 midterm elections, in which Republicans gained control of the Senate.