September 28, 2018

When Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh told Fox News he never drank to excess, several of his Yale classmates were so outraged they decided to set the record straight. One of them, Lynne Brookes, also accepted Chris Cuomo's invitation to join him on CNN after Kavanaugh repeated his claim of relative sobriety under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Cuomo asked Brookes — a Republican who admires Kavanaugh's judicial record — why she changed her mind.

"I'll tell you, Chris, I watched the whole hearing, and a number of my Yale colleagues and I were extremely disappointed in Brett Kavanaugh's characterization of himself and the way that he evaded his excessive drinking question" and "was lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee today," Brookes said. "There is no doubt in my mind that while at Yale, he was a big partier, often drank to excess, and there had to be a number of nights where he does not remember." She said she can "almost guarantee" he doesn't remember a night she witnessed where he was "stumbling drunk, in a ridiculous costume, saying really dumb things" to pledge a fraternity.

Brookes also dismissed Kavanaugh's defense that his studies and sports precluded heavy drinking, noting she played two varsity sports. "I studied really hard, too," she said. "I went to Wharton business school, I did very well at Yale, I also drank to excess many nights with Brett Kavanaugh." She recounted a party where Kavanaugh and Chris Dudley, one of his character witnesses, humiliated a female student by barging in on her in a compromising position.

"I'm not saying it's wrong that he drank," Cuomo concluded after the interview, but "if he's going to be the ultimate judge of truth in our society, a Supreme Court justice, and at 53 years old he's going to lie about what he did when he was 15, what else will he lie about?" Watch below. Peter Weber

11:57 a.m.

John Legere is hanging up on T-Mobile.

Legere, who has been T-Mobile's CEO since 2012, will leave his position when his contract expires in April, he announced on a Monday conference call. Operating chief Mike Sievert will take the top spot, but Legere will remain on the board of directors at T-Mobile and help see the company through its acquisition of Sprint, the company said.

Since taking over the then-struggling mobile service provider seven years ago, Legere has led it to overtake Sprint as the third-largest cell service provider in the U.S. T-Mobile later bought Sprint for $26 billion, but still faces legal challenges as the merger takes shape. Beyond his business-leading prowess, Leger is also known for his colorful personality and Slow Cooker Sundays.

Legere's announcement comes after he was reported last week to be in talks to take over WeWork. The co-working space company had pushed out its eccentric CEO Adam Neumann with a multimillion-dollar exit deal, and were seemingly look to put another out-of-the-box leader in his spot. But Legere denied that, saying in the Monday call that he was "never having discussions to run WeWork" but still hinting he was looking to move to another company "that could use cultural transformation, leadership, and things similar to what we’ve demonstrated" at T-Mobile. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:45 a.m.

Billionaire activist and Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer unveiled a health care plan Monday that would cost $1.5 over a decade — and the early analysis is that it's mostly in line with the plans offered by other moderate Democratic candidates, like former Vice President Joe Biden.

Steyer, like Biden, is aiming to strengthen the Affordable Health Care Act which was achieved under the Obama-Biden administration. He's proposing a public option for the uninsured (who would be automatically enrolled when they engage with public assistance programs) and for people who aren't satisfied with their private insurance. So, Medicare-for-all isn't on the table for Steyer.

Another major aspect of the program is Steyer's proposal to lower prescription drug costs. He says he'd do so by having Medicare and the public option negotiate drug prices directly with manufacturers and extend those prices to private insurers, as well, which his campaign predicts will save more than $50 billion per year. Read the full plan here. Tim O'Donnell

10:23 a.m.

There's apparently a right way and a wrong way to get an ambassadorship out of a Trump campaign donation.

Doug Manchester, who spent two and a half years waiting for a confirmation hearing after President Trump nominated him to be the U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, was recently pulled from the running for the role. But before that happened, it seems Manchester told the Republican National Committee he'd send over a hefty donation if it got his confirmation process moving, CBS News reports.

Manchester, like impeachment-embroiled U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, is a Trump supporter who donated $1 million to the president's inauguration fund. But unlike Sondland, Manchester's nomination never came to the Senate floor. He seemed to try and scoot it along by bringing a private jet full of supplies to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian hit the islands where he has a house — something that earned tweeted praised from Trump. And three days later, the RNC asked him for another donation.

In an email, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel asked Manchester if he would "consider putting together $500,000 ... from your family," CBS News reports. Manchester wrote back saying "As you know I am not supposed to do any, but my wife is sending a contribution for $100,000." He then acknowledged that he'd passed a Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote and said "we need you to have the majority leader bring it to a majority vote." "Once confirmed," his "family will respond" to the donation request, Manchester continued.

An RNC spokesperson said the committee wasn't suggesting a donation would speed Manchester's confirmation and called his suggestion otherwise "totally inappropriate." Manchester also told CBS News that wasn't his or his wife's intentions with the donation. Read more at CBS News. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:43 a.m.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) had an up-and-down weekend.

Her Democratic presidential campaign received a helpful endorsement, but reports of internal strife led to questions about the future of her White House bid. And while she reportedly received some hearty support during her speech at the California Democratic convention on Saturday, some strategists in her home state think the clock is ticking for the senator, who was once considered a serious contender for the nomination, Politico reports.

"Of course she should get out," said one leading Democratic strategist who declined to speak on the record. "But who's gonna tell her?"

Harris is struggling in the polls, but has reportedly told California insiders that she's not planning on dropping out of the race at least until after the Iowa caucus. But there are fears that even that could be too late and harm her reputation in the long run. "It's not happening," a leading grassroots organizer told Politico on the condition of anonymity. "She has her chance [to leave the race] ... she should take it."

One person who isn't buying the rumors of Harris' demise is California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who felt no need to speak anonymously and said he thinks there's still time and space for the senator to get back in the race. "She's too talented to be dismissed — she's too capable," he said. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

9:28 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants President Trump to testify in the impeachment inquiry, and he's not shooting down the idea.

Pelosi on Sunday invited Trump to testify in the ongoing probe focused on whether he abused his power by pushing Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, with the Democratic leader saying he "could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants" and "could do it in writing."

In a tweet Monday morning, Trump at first lashed out at Pelosi, only to actually decide this isn't such a bad idea after all, promising he will "strongly consider" testifying.

Still, many were skeptical that Trump's supposed consideration will actually lead to anything, especially after he said he "wanted" to sit down for an interview with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, only to never do so. Mueller later testified that his team spent more than a year negotiating for an interview with the president but had "little success." Trump, instead, provided written answers to Mueller, but the former special counsel told Congress this was "certainly not as useful as the interview would be."

Regardless of whether this testimony will ultimately happen, though, Politico's Jake Sherman asked "how long Dems will give the president to do this" and wondered "could this delay their probe," also writing that "whether he does or not, there's an argument now they have to give him a reasonable timetable." Brendan Morrow

9:10 a.m.

Former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton told a group of bankers in Miami two weeks ago that his former boss President Trump "believes his personal chemistry with foreign leaders, including authoritarians like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, means that the U.S. relationship with those countries is a positive one," Axios reported last week. If that's the case, America's relationship with North Korea is ... complicated.

Kim has set a year-end deadline for a breakthrough in the U.S.-North Korea nuclear talks, and Trump tweeted Sunday that Kim "should act quickly, get the deal done." U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that the U.S. had indefinitely scrapped joint military exercises with South Korea as an "act of goodwill" toward Pyongyang to create space for diplomacy.

On Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan poured cold water on the Trump administration's outreach. "The U.S. only seeks to earn time, pretending it has made progress" with North Korea, he said. "We are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us. As we have got nothing in return, we will no longer gift the U.S. president with something he can boast of."

North Korea has been ramping up its missile tests and publicizing its military drills. It's not clear what Kim is willing to put on the table, but along with suspending the joint military exercises with Seoul, Trump has asked Tokyo to pay four times as much to host U.S. troops in Japan and demanded that South Korea pay nearly five times as much, Foreign Policy and Reuters report. Bolton delivered the news in July.

"This kind of demand, not only the exorbitant number, but the way it is being done, could trigger anti-Americanism" in close allies, Bruce Klingner at the Heritage Foundation tells Foreign Policy. "If you weaken alliances, and potentially decrease deterrence and U.S. troop presence, that benefits North Korea, China, and Russia who see the potential for reduced U.S. influence and support for our allies." Peter Weber

8:31 a.m.

Most Americans are closely following the public impeachment hearings and believe the actions by President Trump that spawned them were wrong, a new poll has found.

In an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Monday, 70 percent of Americans said they believe Trump's actions tied to Ukraine were wrong. This comes after the first week of public hearings in the official impeachment inquiry, which is examining Trump's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

Of the 70 percent who say Trump's actions at the center of the inquiry were wrong, 51 percent say he should be impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the Senate for them, while 13 percent believe his actions were wrong but don't support impeachment and removal, and another six percent believe they were wrong and support impeachment but not removal. Twenty-five percent of Americans believe Trump's actions weren't wrong.

Asked how closely they've been following the House's impeachment hearings, 37 percent said they've been following them somewhat closely, while 21 percent said they've been following very closely. Forty-two percent said they aren't following them that closely or closely at all. Twenty-one percent of those polled also said they made up their mind about whether Trump should be impeached and removed following this first public week of hearings, although 78 percent of those polled had already decided before the public hearings began, including 32 percent who had their mind made up prior to September, when the news about the whistleblower complaint concerning Trump's Ukraine actions was reported.

The ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by speaking to a random national sample of 506 adults on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17. The margin of error is 4.8 percentage points. Read more at ABC News. Brendan Morrow

See More Speed Reads