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Exit interview
December 12, 2018

Outgoing U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley swears that when it comes to foreign policy, Trump's unpredictable nature is a feature, not a bug.

Haley spoke with Today on Wednesday morning as she prepares to exit the Trump administration after two years on the job. She told NBC's Craig Melvin that there were scenarios in which the president's bombastic rhetoric actually helped her maneuver behind-the-scenes.

"He would ratchet up the rhetoric, and then I'd go back to the ambassadors and say, 'You know, he's pretty upset. I can't promise you what he's going to do or not, but I can tell you if we do these sanctions, it will keep him from going too far,'" she said.

When Melvin observed that it sounded like they were playing good cop, bad cop, Haley simply said she was "trying to get the job done." She went on to say, "I got the job done by being truthful, but also by letting him be unpredictable and not showing our cards."

This is the first interview Haley has given since announcing her departure from the administration, and while her October announcement set off a firestorm of speculation about her eying a possible White House bid, she swore to Today that she and her husband have "never talked" about the possibility of her running for president. Watch Haley's interview with Today below. Brendan Morrow

November 29, 2018

Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) thinks the 115th Congress was a rousing success — with two notable exceptions.

Ryan, who earlier this year decided not to seek re-election, spoke with The Washington Post on Thursday and named his biggest regrets: the first is that Congress was not able to pass immigration reform, and the second is that it was not able to reduce the national debt.

The GOP leader tried and failed to pass an immigration reform bill that he introduced over the summer. The national debt is currently $21.8 trillion, having risen from $19.5 trillion in 2016, reports The Washington Examiner. The Congressional Budget Office has projected that Congress' tax reform bill will add $1.9 trillion to the debt over the next ten years, per The Hill.

Ryan named the tax bill as one of the accomplishments he's happy about, in addition to increased spending for the military, adding that "history is going to be very good to this majority." Watch Ryan's comments on his tenure, including lamentations about "tribalism" in politics and President Trump's "hostile" relationship with the press at The Washington Post. Brendan Morrow

June 29, 2015

An online al Qaeda publication has published an interview purportedly conducted with the late Adam Gadahn, an American citizen who had sharp words for the Islamic State.

In an interview spanning more than 80 pages believed to have taken place last fall, Gadahn discussed growing up in California and how he came to join al Qaeda. He spoke at length about ISIS, praising the group for its "considerable strength and prowess...in military terms," but adding that he condemned the "crimes it has committed against Muslims," saying they "cannot simply be overlooked or forgotten with time, because in Islam there is no statute of limitations. ... All of us used to be sympathetic to varying degrees towards the Islamic State of Iraq — despite its mistakes — when it was seen as a weak and oppressed force valiantly fighting brutal tyrannies. But now that it has become clear that it has — unfortunately — adopted some of the traits, methods, and tactics of those same tyrannies, it no longer holds the same place in our hearts that it did once upon a time."

He also chastised ISIS for the execution of British humanitarian Alan Henning. "Alan Henning didn't go to Syria as a soldier or spy," he said. "He went to Syria as a member of a Muslim aid convoy to distribute relief supplies to displaced and needy Syrians. But rather than thank him, some interlopers rewarded him first by kidnapping him and then by slaughtering him on camera." Gadahn was killed in January during an American counter-terrorism operation. U.S. officials said they did not know that Gadahn was at the targeted location, ABC News reports. Catherine Garcia

April 13, 2014

Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says that ObamaCare is working despite the terrible rollout that greeted the administration back in October. And she claims her departure from the White House was not the president's decision, as some have speculated, but rather her own.

In an interview with NBC's Andrea Mithcell that aired on Sunday's Meet the Press, Sebelius said she informed President Obama he needed to have an HHS chief who could steward the law for the remainder of his presidency, a time commitment she wasn't willing to make.

"I made it pretty clear that that really wasn't an option, to stay on," she said. "I mean, I thought it was fair to either commit until January of 2017 or leave with enough time that he would get a strong, competent leader."

The White House announced late Thursday that Sebelius would resign, though ObamaCare critics have demanded since the initial rollout debacle that she be fired. And as problems with Healthcare.gov lingered, even some Democrats called on Sebelius to step down, if only to help the administration save face.

In the interview, Sebelius also called the ObamaCare launch "terribly flawed and terribly difficult," adding that the administration's belief it would be ready in time for the October 1 rollout was "just flat out wrong." Still, she said the law was more or less working as envisioned, and that it was already giving people access to more and better health care choices. --Jon Terbush

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