The Latest: Obama explains not talking about Comey decision

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Spain: (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

President Barack Obama says he’s avoiding getting into specifics about the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server because he considers it inappropriate to second guess or comment extensively on the decisions that FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch made.

Obama is speaking in Madrid after meeting with Spain’s acting prime minister. Obama is cutting his first visit to Spain a day short because of a series of deadly shootings in the U.S.

Obama says he is concerned however about how the government in general handles sensitive information. Some of the improvement that is needed will come from better systems, but much of it will come through more training of government employees, from the very top to lower staff.


2 p.m.

President Barack Obama has arrived for a meeting with Spain’s acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy (mah-ree-AH’-noh rah-HOY’).

The leaders are sitting down at Moncloa Palace, the prime minister’s official residence in Madrid.

Obama met earlier Sunday with King Felipe VI.

Both meetings were originally scheduled for Monday, but Obama rearranged his schedule and cut a day out of his first presidential visit to Spain because of a series of deadly shootings in the U.S.

Spain, meanwhile, has been gripped by a political stalemate since December. Rajoy has been unable to garner the support he needs to form a new coalition government following elections in December and repeat balloting in late June.

None of Spain’s other major political parties are willing to join him.


11:45 a.m.

Spain’s Royal Palace says King Felipe VI has a special gift for President Barack Obama.

It’s an English edition of Don Quixote, the famed Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The book’s leather cover is stamped with the U.S. seal and the seal of Spain’s Royal House.

It also includes a written dedication in English signed by the king and his wife, Queen Letizia.

The White House has not disclosed Obama’s gift for the king.


11 a.m.

President Barack Obama has arrived at Spain’s Royal Palace to meet with King Felipe VI.

After a brief welcome ceremony, Obama and the king greeted each other’s delegations under gold and crystal chandeliers and the soaring archways of a palace reception room.

The king thanked Obama for visiting under the circumstances in the U.S.

Obama said it had been a “difficult week” but said the visit was important because of Spain’s strong partnership with the U.S.

He said he wished he was staying longer.

Obama cut a two-day visit to one day to return to Washington after the police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and a sniper attack on five police officers in Dallas.