NBC News' Lester Holt interviewed President Barack Obama on Tuesday — ahead of the president's farewell address to the nation in Chicago.
Holt traveled on Air Force One with Obama on his final trip as commander-in-chief to Chicago on Tuesday afternoon — the birthplace of his presidential campaign. The two then visited a restaurant in Chicago's Hyde Park and discussed how well Obama believes he delivered on promises he made eight years ago and his hope for the nation going forward.
Obama told Holt aboard Air Force One that he hoped he could properly convey the gratitude he felt, both for his staff and his supporters.
"You know, when you when you reflect back on eight years, for all the highs and the lows, the one thing that is a constant is the incredible dedication of the people who got you there," Obama said, adding that he meant everyone from his staff to "the people who, you know, would say that the work we did made a difference."
"I think that that sense of gratitude that I feel for those folks, I just hope I'm able to express that," he said.
Obama told Holt that he hadn't seen news accounts reporting that briefing materials prepared for President-elect Donald Trump included information that was passed to U.S. intelligence agencies making damaging allegations about his dealings with Russians. The material initially circulated among Trump opponents.
But he said that "as a matter of principle and national security, I don't comment on classified information."
A declassified version of the report, which was released last week, concluded that a Russian covert operation designed to undermine American democracy evolved into an attempt to help Trump win the election.
Obama said he ordered the intelligence report "to make sure that we're working effectively with our allies so that misinformation and cyber attacks don't end up undermining democratic structures around the world."
More of the interview will be the focus of a one-hour "Dateline NBC" special, "Barack Obama: The Reality of Hope," airing Friday at 10 p.m. ET. Parts of the interview will also be featured on the various platforms of NBC News and MSNBC, including TODAY, "NBC Nightly News" and NBCNews.com.