Tamara Keith | KUOW News and Information

Tamara Keith

Shortly before Donald Trump takes the oath of office on Friday, Mike Pence will put his hand on Ronald Reagan's Bible and be sworn in as vice president. It's a job that has varied in influence from administration to administration. So how will Pence cut his path?

Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Trump's pick to be national security adviser, did speak to Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak by telephone on Dec. 29, the same day the Obama administration announced measures retaliating against Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign, two Trump transition officials confirm to NPR.

The website at the Office of Government Ethics went down Friday afternoon, apparently overwhelmed with traffic, as the agency and its director found themselves at the heart of a growing political fight.

Even before Barack Obama moved into the White House, he and his team made a choice that made actually selling his policies to the public more difficult.

In December 2008, Obama's economic team gathered in Chicago to map out what would become the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"A dispute, discussion, something breaks out at that meeting. We haven't even come in yet," said Austan Goolsbee, a professor at the University of Chicago, who was a top economic adviser in the early years of the Obama presidency.

President-elect Donald Trump sat for a deposition on Thursday in a civil lawsuit related to his hotel in the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C., Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed to NPR via email. Even as Trump prepares to assume the presidency, he continues to have entanglements related to his wide-ranging business dealings.

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Hillary Clinton has kept a low profile since losing the election to Donald Trump, but at a private event before donors Thursday night, she blamed her loss, in part, on "some unprecedented factors" — namely Russian hacking and the letter about the investigation into her email server released by FBI Director James Comey days before the election.

We've created this handy widget to track how long it has been since Donald Trump held a formal press conference and how many times he has tweeted in that time. It will keep counting until he holds one.

Why are we tracking this?

Unlike other ways of getting messages out, press conferences hold public officials more accountable to the American people because they have to answer questions in an uncontrolled environment.

With the selection of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state and the expected nomination of Rick Perry for the Department of Energy, Donald Trump's Cabinet has largely taken shape in Trump's own image — a combination of millionaires, billionaires, outsiders and even a few politicians who oppose the work of the very agencies they've been tapped to lead.

President Obama has ordered the intelligence community to conduct a "full review" of "malicious cyber activity" timed to U.S. elections, the White House said Friday.

The review will go all the way back to the 2008 campaign when China was found to have hacked both the Obama and McCain campaigns, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said at a Friday press briefing.

There were moments when watching the Trump and Clinton campaigns discuss the election at the Campaign Managers Conference at the Harvard Institute of Politics was like watching The Jerry Springer Show without the chair-throwing (or paternity disputes).

The 2016 campaign was an ugly, knock-down, drag-out fight between two different visions of America. So it was fitting that the typically polite and clinical quadrennial gathering of campaign professionals would erupt into shouting matches and accusations raw with emotion.

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