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Major Garrett shifted uneasily in his chair, as the cameras and lights were set up around him. He reflected on his nearly twenty years with the media, especially on his decision to move from Fox News to CBS in 2012. Recently he had wondered if he had made the right decision, given the attitude and behavior of the media toward President Trump and his administration. Today he might be risking his career, but he believed it was the right thing to do.
At that moment the door to the hotel room opened and former President Obama strode into the room, smiling as he saw Garrett waiting for him. Garrett stood up and extended his hand to shake the President’s hand, then invited him to sit down.
They spent a few minutes exchanging small talk, updating each other on their families, activities, and plans. Then Major Garrett moved to the purpose of the interview.
MG: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Mr. President. I thought it would be important after your recent speeches to give you the opportunity to address the public further on the misunderstandings about your administration and your concerns about the Trump administration.
BO: I appreciate the opportunity, Major, and feel the country has the right to know the truth.
He looked at Garrett solemnly, nodding his head.
MG: So I’d like to focus on some of the key actions of your administration. Tell me about the Affordable Care Act and its current status in the country.
BO: I’m very concerned, Major. We put together a plan that was established to bring down medical costs, give the people more choices for insurance, and make sure more people had coverage. The Trump administration is dismantling the whole program and will leave people without insurance. They’re really taking a step backward.
MG: That was your original plan, Mr. President. What do you say, however, to your critics who claim that insurance ended up being more expensive, and that people were not signing up because they weren’t concerned about the small penalty for opting out? In fact, you also promised people that they could keep their health plan and doctors if they wished.
Obama shifted in his chair and studied Garrett, and after a brief pause, responded.
BO: Well, no program is perfect, and if we’d had more time to work out the kinks, all those difficulties would have been resolved.
MG: Right. I understand. Well, let’s talk a bit about the US relationship with the Russians. You were determined to improve our relationship with Russia, including the reset button that Secretary of State Clinton offered to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
BO: That’s right, and I think when I left government, we had greatly improved our relationship with the Russians. Unfortunately, President Trump is now pandering to them and is putting the future of our country in danger.
MG: Well, on the other hand, there were the situations with Ukraine and Crimea during your administration, Mr. President. You allowed the Russians to attack Ukraine, and when the Ukrainians asked us for arms to fight off the Russian troops which Vladimir Putin denied existed, you sent them blankets. And of course, he took over Crimea without repercussions from our country.
BO: Listen, Major, we thought we were only going to escalate the Ukraine problem if we sent arms, and Crimea was actually more culturally Russian than anything else. Say, where is this interview going anyway?
MG: I’m just trying to clarify the actions of your own administration and of the current administration, sir.
Barack Obama sat on the edge of his chair with his hands tightly folded in front of him.
BO: Right, so what’s next on your list of questions?
MG: Well there is the Iran Nuclear Deal, which you believe was a key accomplishment of your administration.
BO: Yes, indeed. We were determined to slow down Iran’s nuclear activities, and we were successful in setting up a plan to do just that. I’m very proud of our work. And now Donald Trump has thrown all that away, over some petty disagreements, instead of sticking with our allies to modify the plan with Iran’s help. It’s very discouraging and really puts our country, in fact, the world, in grave danger.
MG: There are people, Mr. President, who see that deal differently. The plane that was secretly sent to Tehran with $400 million in Swiss francs, euros and other currencies the same day the hostages were released, along with two other planes, was disturbing to many in Congress.
BO: Now wait a second, you don’t have the full story—
MG: —and then there were the efforts to give the Iranians access to US banks—
BO: –but you don’t understand the intricacies of the deal—
MG: –and there were no plans for serious enforcement actions.
Barack Obama stood up quickly.
BO: Turn off the cameras. Turn. Off. The. Cameras. I didn’t come here to be insulted, Major. You invited me here under false pretenses. I’m done.
MG: Oh, just one more thing, Mr. President. Steve?
A man came out of the corner of the room holding a document that he handed to the President. Obama looked at him quizzically.
Steve: Sir, this is a Grand Jury subpoena. I have been authorized to tell you that it is in regard to an IRS investigation.
BO: This is outrageous!
MG: Yes sir, it is. It certainly is.