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May 30, 2019

R. Kelly is facing 11 new felony counts of sexual abuse, Chicago prosecutors revealed Thursday.

The charges, some of which carry a maximum sentence of 30 years, all pertain to one victim between the ages of 13 and 16, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Kelly now faces six new counts of criminal sexual assault and five new counts of criminal sexual abuse, on top of the 10 sexual abuse counts he received in February.

Kelly pleaded not guilty the first round of charges, which allege he abused three minors between the ages of 13 and 16 and one adult woman, back in February. This new grouping could involve one of those same victims, seeing as the new allegation pertains to a January 2010 event and one of the previous victims reported abuse during that time.

Kelly was released on a $1 million bond after his first round of charges, and continues to claim the allegations against him are false. He was taken into custody again after an unpaid child support hearing in March, but was released after making the payment. Kathryn Krawczyk

8:46 p.m.

The Trump administration considers Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro an illegitimate leader who is causing havoc in his country, but does not plan on granting temporary protected status to Venezuelans.

The United States grants temporary protected status to people who flee from countries torn apart by armed conflicts and natural disasters, keeping them safe from deportation. The Trump administration supports the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, and routinely criticizes Maduro for causing economic instability in his country, which is suffering from food and medicine shortages. The United Nations, which says the Maduro regime has killed thousands of citizens, estimates the humanitarian crisis could displace as many as 8.2 million Venezuelans by the end of 2020.

In a letter sent to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday, Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said the government "continues to monitor the situation in Venezuela," but will not extend temporary protected status to any Venezuelans in the country. Durbin and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement that Trump "cannot have it both ways. He cannot warn Americans that Venezuela is so dangerous they should avoid traveling there and then turn around and tell Venezuelans in the U.S. they are forced to return."

In 2018, close to 30,000 Venezuelans applied for protection in the United States, The Guardian reports, while 336 were deported between October 2017 and September 2018. Catherine Garcia

7:19 p.m.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a resolution condemning President Trump's "racist comments" directed at four Democratic congresswomen, all women of color.

Four Republicans — Reps. Will Hurd of Texas, Fred Upton of Michigan, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Susan Brooks of Indiana — and one independent — former Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan — voted with the Democrats to pass the resolution, 240-187.

Trump tweeted that the women should "go back" to their home countries — three were born in the U.S., and all are citizens — and has refused to apologize, instead doubling-down and saying people agree with him. Before Tuesday's vote, Trump tweeted, "Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don't have a Racist bone in my body!" Catherine Garcia

5:16 p.m.

The House of Representatives has some absurdly specific rules.

Inside the manual governing the chamber's parliamentary procedures, there's a ban on calling the president "a little bugger," and on saying they "do not care about black people." And there's a broad rule against calling the president or anything they say "racist," which came into question Tuesday when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did just that.

After President Trump on Sunday tweeted racist attacks on four Democratic congressmembers, House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a resolution condemning them. Pelosi called the tweets "racist," and also "disgraceful and disgusting" on the House floor, and before she even finished her speech, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) asked if she'd like to "rephrase" that comment. Pelosi bluntly shut that idea down, and Collins moved to have Pelosi's words struck from the record.

Cue Democrats huddling, the arrival of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and an hourlong delay that got a GOP meeting with Trump canceled. Finally, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who was chairing the hearing, stepped back up. He then heatedly called the whole ordeal an "excuse to escalate," dropped his gavel, said "I abandon the chair," and walked away.

After several more minutes of nothingness, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) affirmed Pelosi's words were "out of order," as the House parliamentarian had confirmed earlier. That meant Pelosi couldn't speak on the floor for the rest of the day, though the House still voted against striking her words from the record. And all the while, Pelosi stood firm with what she'd said. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:58 p.m.

Dr. Leana Wen, the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in decades, was removed by the organization's board on Tuesday less than a year into her tenure, The New York Times reports.

People familiar with the situation said that Wen's removal was a result of internal strife regarding her management. That was magnified by the organization's general turbulence at the moment; several states are attempting to roll back abortion rights in an attempt to chip away at Roe v. Wade. Wen allegedly did not fit the bill when it came to political action, the Times reports, and the board was reportedly looking for a more "aggressive" leader.

In Wen's stead, the board voted unanimously to appoint Alexis McGill Johnson as acting president and chief executive of both Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which provides health care services, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political wing of the organization. McGill Johnson has served on Planned Parenthood's board for nearly a decade and was previously its chair, the Times reports.

Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner, apparently knew her tenure was over. But she doesn't seem thrilled with how it all went down.

In her statement, Wen wrote that she is leaving due to "philosophical differences" with the board, largely over their approach toward protecting abortion care. Wen said she views it "not as a political issue but a health care one." Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

4:07 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday blasted President Trump for his "disgraceful" and "racist" tweets about four minority congresswomen.

Pelosi spoke on the House floor ahead of a planned vote on a resolution officially condemning Trump for the tweets telling minority congresswomen to "go back" to where they came from, which the resolution describes as racist. Pelosi on Tuesday said that Trump's comments were "disgraceful and disgusting," as well as "racist."

The House speaker also said it's "shameful" to hear Trump "continue to defend those racist words," which she described as "not only divisive but dangerous." Trump on Tuesday once again insisted that his comments were not racist, writing, "I don't have a racist bone in my body!" On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also came to Trump's defense over the comments.

"There's no excuse for any response to those words but a swift and strong unified condemnation," Pelosi said. "...To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people."

After Pelosi finished, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) requested for Pelosi's comments, which he called "unparliamentary," to be taken down due to a rule saying that "remarks may not refer to the president as a racist," reports Politico's Jake Sherman. A decision on that request has not yet been reached. Watch Pelosi's comments below. Brendan Morrow

3:49 p.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had a tense exchange with President Trump's defense secretary nominee Mark Esper during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Warren didn't shy away from Esper's association with defense contractor Raytheon, where the Army secretary worked as a lobbyist. Warren seemed miffed when Esper would not commit to extending his recusal from issues involving Raytheon for his entire tenure at the Pentagon. He also refused to pledge not to seek employment in the defense industry for four years after leaving the government.

So, fast friends they did not make.

That said, Committee Chair Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) drew extra attention to the tension, even apologizing to Esper "for what you had to be confronted with. It was unfair and you handled it beautifully." For what it's worth, Esper seemed less affronted than Inhofe.

No one else apologized to Esper, but other Republicans on the committee were critical of Warren, as well. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said Warren just "needed a moment" for her 2020 presidential campaign, while Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said that she was "casually" using words like corruption "to get a little stink" on Esper, who said he has never been accused of corruption. Tim O'Donnell

3:23 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has some steaming hot love for a microwaveable favorite.

In a Tuesday speech on the Senate floor, McConnell started to brief his colleagues on some international trade deal discussions slated for this week. He then zoomed in on one particular product from one particular country — Hot Pockets, a product of the Swiss company Nestle — and delivered a touching ode to the toasty treat.

"Practically every American is familiar with Hot Pockets," McConnell said, not adding how they're also familiar with how the pockets' cores remain impossibly cold while the breaded edge is scalding. "But not everyone knows that as of several years ago, every single hot pocket is cooked in Mount Sterling, Kentucky," creating about 1,000 jobs, McConnell added. That's why he's so adamant that senators vote to uphold a trade deal with Switzerland.

Now, without further ado, watch McConnell unfortunately not sing that iconic brand name on the Senate floor. Kathryn Krawczyk

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