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May 19, 2017
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The Bureau of Prisons has begun the process of acquiring at least one new private prison specifically for housing undocumented immigrants, BuzzFeed News reports. "Given Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions' strong focus on a priority for the investigation and prosecution of immigration offenses, we do expect an increase in additional immigration offenders over the weeks and months ahead," said the acting director of the bureau, Dr. Thomas Kane.

The Bureau of Prisons is seeking bids for a prison with up to "9,540 beds." "The population will be low-security adult male inmates that are primarily criminal aliens with ordinarily 90 months or less remaining to serve on their sentences," the notice says.

"We're extremely concerned," the American Civil Liberties Union's deputy director of legislative affairs in Washington, Jesselyn McCurdy, told BuzzFeed News. "We have seen how people have been mistreated, abused, and in many cases, not been given proper medical care and died as a result of being in private prisons."

Arrests of undocumented immigrants have increased 37.6 percent under President Trump. Jeva Lange

2:24 p.m. ET

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) took to the floor Thursday to passionately attack the Republican Senate's ObamaCare replacement, the "Better Care" act. "Senate Republicans wrung some extra dollars out of kicking people off tax credits that help them afford health insurance," Warren said. "They raked in extra cash by letting states drop even more protections and benefits, like maternity care or prescription drug coverage or mental health coverage."

"And then they got to the real piggy bank," Warren added. "Medicaid. And here, they just went wild."

Warren noted that 1 in 5 Americans is on Medicaid, and that the program serves 30 million children. "These cuts are blood money," she said. "People will die. Let's be very clear. Senate Republicans are paying for tax cuts for the wealthy with American lives." Watch below. Jeva Lange

2:15 p.m. ET

Hours after Republican Senate leadership released a proposal for replacing ObamaCare, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) announced they would not support their party's bill.

"Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation," the senators wrote. They added, though, that "it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise made to Americans: to repeal ObamaCare and lower their health-care costs."

The GOP cannot lose the support of more than three senators for the bill to pass, as no Democrats or independents are expected to back the plan. A vote is expected next week. Jeva Lange

2:12 p.m. ET
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A 92-year-old from Washington state has finally graduated from her old high school. Mary Matsuda Gruenewald was an honors student at Vashon Island High School in 1942 when, like some 120,000 other Japanese-Americans during World War II, she was sent to an internment camp. Matsuda Gruenewald graduated from the camp's makeshift school and went on to become a nurse. But she always wanted her diploma from Vashon. When the school's principal heard her story recently, he invited her to walk in the class of 2017's commencement. "This eliminates all the heartaches," she says. Christina Colizza

1:14 p.m. ET

President Trump confessed Thursday on Twitter that he does not have tapes of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. In May, shortly after firing Comey, Trump tweeted a threat: "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Comey then called the president's bluff during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying, "Lordy, I hope there are tapes."

On Thursday, Trump finally came clean:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), a friend and ally of Trump's, told The Associated Press earlier Thursday that he thought Trump's threat was simply "his way [of] instinctively trying to rattle Comey."

"He's not a professional politician," Gingrich said. "He doesn't come back and think about Nixon and Watergate. His instinct is: 'I'll out-bluff you.'" Jeva Lange

1:09 p.m. ET

University of Minnesota graduate student Victoria Fiorentino pinpointed a particularly alarming line in the Senate Republicans' health-care replacement bill, which was unveiled Thursday:

Medicaid covers roughly 50 percent of all births in the country. Jeva Lange

12:50 p.m. ET

The Senate Republican health-care bill was released Thursday, revealing its steep cuts to Medicaid and slashing of essential health benefits to the American public. The bill's drafting had been shrouded in secrecy for weeks, to the point that even several Republican senators had expressed frustration with the process.

Shortly after the bill was released, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) admitted to MSNBC that he had only "started to read" the bill, but he nonetheless offered a rather unflattering assessment: "In some ways it's more evil, in some ways it's even dumber than the House proposal," Murphy said, adding the Senate's bill "largely mirrors" the House's version, but scales up cuts to Medicaid. The House bill passed with a razor-thin margin early last month.

Murphy also noted the Senate bill's lack of an individual mandate, which he said "makes any protection for people that are sick meaningless," and said the bill "logistically" didn't make sense. "I just think it's an absolute monstrosity of a bill," he said.

Watch below. Kimberly Alters

12:43 p.m. ET

After Senate Republicans released the text of their health-care bill Thursday, approximately 60 protesters — including several in wheelchairs — stormed the hallway outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office.

The sit-in was organized by Arc, a group that "promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities."

Security soon began removing protesters, even physically dragging some people away:

Even as they were being escorted out, many protesters turned to reporters' cameras to demand "no cuts to Medicaid." "Medicaid covers 30 percent of non-elderly adults with disabilities and 60 percent of children with disabilities," Slate writes. Jeva Lange

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