Obama Speaks About His 'No Indictments' Administration At A Houston Celebration For James Baker

Former U.S. President Barack Obama walked into a conservative stronghold Tuesday, sat with famous Republicans and then took subtle jabs at the sitting president.

Just hours after meeting with former president George H.W. Bush, Obama joined former Secretary of State James A. Baker III for a milestone celebration in honor of Baker’s namesake.

During a 25th anniversary celebration of the nonpartisan Baker Institute for Public Policy think tank in Houston, Obama reflected on an indictment-free eight years in the White House.

Sleekly-dressed in a black tuxedo and on the spot for an hour-long Q&A session before a gala of more than 1,000 attendees, Obama lauded his administration from 2009-2017 as rather clean compared to other administrations.

“Not only did I not get indicted, nobody in my administration got indicted," Obama said. "By the way, it was the only administration in modern history that that can be said about. In fact, nobody came close to being indicted, probably because the people who joined us were there for the right reasons."

The Houston Chronicle reported that Jon Meacham, the presidential historian who moderated the session, asked Baker of his proudest moment while serving under various administrations.

Playing to the moment, Baker said he was proud to have never been indicted.

Baker, 88, is a Houston native who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked for president Richard Nixon. Baker worked as Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff and was the Secretary of State under Bush 41, Reagan’s successor. He served as chief legal adviser for George W. Bush during his run to the White House in 2000.

The indictment comments from Obama on Tuesday night derived from recent developments in the Trump administration. Multiple advisers and other members of the administration have been indicted as part of Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's alleged tampering with the 2016 presidential election.

Most recent among them is former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who was sentenced last Friday to 14 days of prison for lying during an investigation of Russian collusion during Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

In August, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair, was found guilty of filing false tax returns, failing to disclose his offshore bank accounts and bank fraud.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying about his contacts with Russia.

As for the gala itself, Baker was asked a question regarding current foreign policy, and he reflected on his time in the White House working to end the decades-long Cold War.

“American leadership in the world is absolutely imperative. No other country can do it," Baker said, "Because we had alliances."

Obama’s visit to Houston comes a few weeks after Trump held a rally at an overflowing Toyota Center to support Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz ultimately defeated Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke in a close midterm election.

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