Despite lame duck status, Obama busy

Cuba, the Sony hacking scandal, and Secret Service reform just some topics

(NBC News) – In Washington, Congress is gone and President Obama is tying up loose ends before heading to Hawaii for the holidays.

He’s holding a news conference Friday.

For a lame duck president whose party is out of power here on Capitol Hill, he’s got a full plate. And a lot of those issues he put on the plate.

Friday President Obama is expected to address opening relations with Cuba.

The State Department says change will happen quickly. “We’re talking about weeks. You know, days or weeks, certainly not months,” said Assistant Secretary of State, Roberta Jackson.

But what is still not clear is whether the President can convince the new Republican-controlled Congress to lift the trade embargo. “This deal the President has come up with is a terrible tradeoff,” said Senator Marco Rubio, (R) Florida.

Mr. Obama could face questions today about Sony’s canceled release of “The Interview” after a hack attack. “The President considers it to be a serious national security matter,” said White House Secretary Josh Earnest.

The Administration thinks – but won’t say publicly – that North Korea is behind it. “The U.S. Government is actively considering a range of options that we’ll take in response to this attack,” said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Immigration and the Secret Service could come up today.

The independent panel’s report is out. They’re recommending a taller fence at the White House. More agents, more training, and a new director. “There are a number of things we can and should do to change the way the Secret Service conducts business,” said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Plus, the combat mission in Afghanistan will officially end while Washington is on vacation.

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