February 9, 2018
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Isn't this kind of like calling your ex to complain about the new girlfriend you dumped her for?

President Trump is reportedly so annoyed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that he's been in touch with the only other person who could understand: Reince Priebus, his former chief of staff, who also annoyed him. Priebus was pushed out to make room for Kelly, the retired four-star Marine general who was touted as bringing calm to a chaotic White House. But it turns out, The New York Times reports, Trump doesn't like it when his aides are in the news for the wrong reasons, and Kelly made negative headlines this week for forcefully defending former White House staff secretary Rob Porter after he was accused of domestic violence, and suggesting that some undocumented immigrants are "too lazy to get off their asses" to apply for legal status.

Two people briefed on the subject told the Times that Trump has been asking his advisers what they think about Mick Mulvaney — director of the White House budget office and interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — as a potential replacement for Kelly. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who was chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton, told the Times he's worried about Kelly. "Even he has admitted it's probably the toughest job he's ever had," he said. "And I really do think sometimes, particularly with this president, you're fighting on so many fronts it's tough not to have that job wear on you." Read more about Kelly's precarious situation, and the memo he sent out to White House staffers regarding domestic violence, at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

4:56 p.m. ET
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Peabody Awards

Kenya Barris is leaving ABC Studios for Netflix.

Famous for creating the hit sitcom Black-ish and writing the Tiffany Haddish-starring Girls Trip, Barris will now produce new shows exclusively for the streaming service. The three-year deal is reportedly worth $100 million, Variety reports.

Barris originally wasn't so sure about making a new home for himself at Netflix, but after some thought — and convincing — he was able to change his tune. "I started to believe that maybe this mom-and-pop shop with only 130 million subscribers might just be something," he quipped in a statement to Variety. "So I decided to take a swing ... a leap of faith if you will, and take a chance with the new kids on the block."

Cindy Holland, Netflix's vice president of original content, referred to Barris as "one of our great modern storytellers." Barris will join the ranks of Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy as one of the streaming service's premiere creators. Just last year, the writer and producer had renewed his contract with ABC Studios through 2021, but he was able to secure his release from the studio several months ago after a public fraying of their relationship.

Fans of Black-ish and its spin-off Grown-ish have nothing to fear, however, as Barris will continue to be an executive producer on both series. If anything, it just means a whole lot more of Kenya Barris. Read more about the deal at Variety. Amari Pollard

4:49 p.m. ET

Serena Williams is still crushing her opponents after more than two decades as one of the top tennis players in the world — and now she does it with a baby in tow.

In an interview with Time, Williams described her complicated comeback to tennis after giving birth, and promised she was nowhere near ready to call it quits. Williams' daughter, Olympia, was born in 2017, and Williams describes a fierce desire to bond with her during any moment that she's not on the court.

Williams worries that her time-consuming training schedule cuts into her time with Olympia, but says that she ultimately knows that she wants to show her daughter that it's possible to have a thriving career no matter what, she told Time. After recovering from a life-threatening childbirth experience, Williams wanted to dive back into tennis. "I'm not done yet, simple," she said. "My story doesn't end here."

But Williams had to learn how to view her career through the lens of motherhood. After nursing Olympia for eight months, her coach told her she should stop in order to get back in shape. "It's absolutely hard to take from a guy," Williams said of the recommendation. “He's not a woman, he doesn't understand that connection." She said she eventually came around to the idea, and had "a really good conversation" with Olympia about needing to commit to her coach's training plan.

Read more about Williams' plan to reach the all-time record of Grand Slam singles titles — as well as her admiration for quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick — at Time. Summer Meza

2:54 p.m. ET

A young pharmaceutical startup wants to develop a groundbreaking new treatment for a relatively common cancer. Yet it struggles to find funding.

That's because the startup in question is Antiva Biosciences, and the cancer it aims to treat is cervical cancer. Stat reported Thursday on the company's struggles to attract investment, as well as its constant fight to receive buy-in from male doctors, quoting Antiva's top executives discussing frankly their perceptions of the problem: "It's very safe to say that we got more traction in [venture capital] firms where there was a woman partner who was in a decision-making role," Antiva CEO Gail Maderis told Stat.

Antiva's proposal is to replace the most common treatment prescribed for women who develop the precancerous cervical lesions that result from being infected with HPV, which is surgery. The operation removes the lesions by "essentially cutting off the tip of the cervix," Stat reports. The surgery has proven effective in eradicating the problem cells, but "women of childbearing age who undergo the surgery may later have difficulty conceiving, recurrent miscarriages, and preterm delivery," Stat explains.

Antiva says about 500,000 women undergo this procedure every year. Instead of surgery, the company is proposing a topical treatment that patients can administer themselves. But the reception has been lukewarm: Maderis told Stat of how one prospective male investor who appeared unenthused during Maderis' pitch. But after their meeting, he called Maderis to explain how his wife had pressed him to investigate the deal further after he'd told her about the company's mission.

One man, David Kabakoff, did invest in Antiva through his firm. His team has been calling gynecologists to glean their reactions to the topical treatment. "The trend was unmistakable," Stat wrote: "Male physicians tended to express skepticism ... Female physicians tended to say new treatment options are badly needed." Read more about Antiva at Stat. Kimberly Alters

2:29 p.m. ET

Omarosa Manigault Newman has another tape.

Manigault Newman appeared on MSNBC on Thursday and played a secret recording of a conversation with Lara Trump, President Trump's daughter-in-law and a campaign adviser.

During the recorded phone call, Lara Trump offered Manigault Newman $15,000 a month to work on the re-election campaign. Manigault Newman told MSNBC that the offer came just days after she was fired from her White House position, calling it proof that the Trump family "can't keep their story straight" when it comes to whether they love or hate her.

The president on Tuesday called Manigault Newman "a crazed, crying lowlife" and a "dog," characterizing her as an incompetent liar who was "vicious, but not smart." In response, Manigault Newman is looking to prove that Trump never had a problem with her until she began criticizing the administration. "Every time the Trump people challenge me, I bring the receipts," she told MSNBC's Craig Melvin. She said she understood the job offer to be "hush money" to keep her from exposing the "corruption" she had witnessed in the White House. Lara Trump said in a statement that she offered the job "before we knew anything about the gross violations of ethics and integrity during her White House tenure."

After previously releasing recordings of Trump campaign advisers and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her, Manigault Newman said she had more tapes to share if she felt she needed to "protect" herself. Watch the full interview below, via MSNBC. Summer Meza

1:48 p.m. ET

Aretha Franklin's death on Thursday inspired a flood of heartfelt sentiments, from fellow musicians remembering her influence to fans reveling in her legacy. Politicians piped in as well, with a wide range of reactions.

President Trump tweeted that Franklin was a "great woman with a wonderful gift from God," but his extemporaneous words later in the day were slightly less focused on her talents. "I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well," Trump said. "She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific — Aretha Franklin — on her passing." He additionally said her legacy would "thrive and inspire many generations to come" and noted that "people loved Aretha."

Meanwhile, former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama issued a statement hoping the "Queen of Soul" may "rest in eternal peace" and recalling Franklin's "unmatched" musicianship. "Every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine," they wrote.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted that Franklin deserves "our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears, and hearts," while former President Bill Clinton joined his wife in a statement that called Franklin "elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry." Summer Meza

1:43 p.m. ET
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No matter how loudly Democrats call for fresh leadership, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has insisted she'll run for speaker if her party claims a majority in the lower chamber this fall. But now, Pelosi has hinted she may at least be tuning in to the calls.

In a Wednesday interview with The New York Times, Pelosi said she's "[building] a bridge to the future," and hinted she'll pass on leadership roles to Democrats who "show what's on the other side of the bridge." Rep. Jim Clyburn (S.C.), the third ranking Democrat in the House, may be the first in line.

As Democrats shoot to regain the House in this November's midterms, members of Pelosi's own party have shunned the former speaker. Rep. Conor Lamb (Pa.) already won a special election on the promise that he wouldn't support Pelosi, and he joins other rising blue stars calling for a new generation to replace the 78-year-old minority leader.

Clyburn is also 78, but he's still thinking about becoming the first black House speaker. He indicated to the Times that he'd aim for speaker only if Pelosi fails; Pelosi told the paper that she's fine with this "beautiful, lovely member of Congress" wanting to lead the House.

In fact, Pelosi doesn't care if Democrats running deride her either. "Let them do whatever they want. We have to win the election," she told the Times. It's a big statement from Pelosi, but some Democrats say that the longtime leader rejecting the speakership altogether would make things even sweeter. Read more at The New York Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:26 p.m. ET

R&B legend Aretha Franklin died Thursday at 76, following a long bout with pancreatic cancer. The "Queen of Soul" leaves behind a nearly 60-year career dotted with chart-topping hits, Grammy wins, and a performance at a presidential inauguration. Here are some of the best photos of Franklin's incredible life. Kathryn Krawczyk

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