November 14, 2017
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Nearly 50 lawmakers and political aides told CNN that they have "personally experienced sexual harassment on the Hill or know of others who have." One female congresswoman claimed "half [of the men in Congress] are harassers" before revising her statement to assert that only "some" are. Whatever the exact numbers, though, harassment is reportedly common and widespread; as one Senate aide put it, Capitol Hill is "a sort of old school, Wild West workplace culture that has a lot of 'work hard, play hard' ethos and without the sort of standard professionalism that you find in more traditional workplaces."

Female lawmakers and Hill staff reportedly use a word-of-mouth "creep list" to warn each other about which male members to avoid. Others employ basic rules of thumb: Avoid the male lawmakers who sleep in their offices, for example, and skip taking an elevator alone with a male congressman or senator.

The people CNN interviewed declined to go on record, many out of fear of repercussions. CNN additionally declined to name which lawmakers face allegations because the stories are unverified, although "more than half a dozen interviewees independently named one California congressman for pursuing female staffers; another half dozen pointed to a Texas congressman for engaging in inappropriate behavior."

Leaders from both major parties have called for sexual harassment training in Congress, as well as cited flaws in the system of handling victims' harassment allegations. "We must ensure that this institution handles complaints to create an environment where staffers can come forward if something happens to them without having to fear that it will ruin their careers," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) earlier this month.

Still, not everyone is optimistic. "There's a little bit of a sex trade on Capitol Hill," said one former staffer. "If a part of getting ahead on Capitol Hill is playing ball with whatever douchebag — then whatever." Read the full report at CNN. Jeva Lange

2:23 a.m. ET
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Florida State knocked No. 1 seed Xavier out of the NCAA men's basketball tournament on Sunday night, taking the lead for the first time with 1:08 left in the game then holding on for a 75-70 finish. Following the shocking elimination of overall top seed Virginia by University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), only two No. 1 seeds are advancing to the Sweet 16 round for the first time since 2004. (UMBC's underdog run was ended by ninth-seeded Kansas on Sunday, 50-43.) The NCAA says it is the first time in tournament history that any region — in this case the South — isn't sending any of its top four seeds to the Sweet 16.

In the East Region, No. 5 seed West Virginia will face Villanova, after the Mountaineers beat Marshall on Sunday night, and second-seeded Purdue will battle No. 3 seed Texas Tech. In the West, third-seeded Michigan will face Texas A&M, a seventh-seeded team that knocked out defending champions North Carolina on Sunday, and No. 4 seed Gonzaga will face Florida State. In the Midwest, No. 1 seed Kansas will play fifth-seeded Clemson and No. 2 seed Duke will face No. 11 seed Syracuse. In the South Region, No. 5 seed Kentucky will take on No. 9 seed Kansas State and seventh-seeded Nevada will battle No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago. If you bracket isn't already busted, congratulations. Peter Weber

2:22 a.m. ET
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In September 2016, two counselors and a resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School recommended that Nikolas Cruz be involuntarily committed for a mental health evaluation, per court documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Cruz, 19, stands accused of killing 17 people in a mass shooting at the Parkland, Florida, high school last month. Under Florida's Baker Act, a person can be forcibly committed for a mental health exam for at least three days, and it's not clear why no one ever followed through on the recommendation. The resource officer who proposed Cruz be committed was Scot Peterson; he resigned after the shooting when it emerged that he did not enter the building during the massacre. Had Cruz been committed, authorities told AP, it would have been a red flag during a background check, making it extremely difficult for him to get a gun legally.

The court documents state that Cruz told a classmate he wanted to purchase a gun and use it; told another student he tried drinking gasoline and was throwing up; and wrote "kill" in a notebook. He also cut his arm several times after he and a girlfriend broke up and punched a hole in a wall at his house, the documents say, but told clinicians with Henderson Behavioral Health that he was feeling better. Cruz admitted that he had a pellet gun, but said he was not capable of doing "serious harm" with it, AP reports. Catherine Garcia

1:27 a.m. ET

While walking home from the subway last Thursday, firefighter Roben Duge saw black smoke billowing from his neighbor's two-story house, and although he was off-duty and didn't have his gear on him, Duge ran into the flames to save a family.

"I'm not a hero, I'm just reacting off instinct," the father of three told the New York Daily News. "When I heard the kids screaming, it hit home." Duge, a resident of Jamaica, Queens, has been with the FDNY for five years, and was able to get a grandmother and her two grandchildren out of the building safely. He brought the trio over to his house, and they were treated by paramedics.

His neighbors praised him for his bravery, but Duge's wife, Crystal, wasn't surprised by his act of heroism. "It's just who he is," she said. "He's Superman." Catherine Garcia

1:05 a.m. ET

On Sunday night, an explosion of some kind injured two men in their 20s in southwest Austin, according to Austin-Travis County Emergency Management Services. In a short press briefing, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said it is not yet clear if the explosion is related to the three package bombs that killed two people and injuring another on March 2 and March 12 in eastern and northern Austin. The two people injured on Sunday night suffered "significant" but apparently "non-life-threatening" injuries, he added, and police and FBI agents are working to "clear" a suspicious backpack from the area. Manley urged residents within a half-mile of the blast to remain indoors until at least morning.

"Do not touch any packages or anything that looks like a package — do not even go near it at this time," Manley told residents. "Given the darkness we have not had an opportunity to really look at this blast site to determine what has happened." Earlier Sunday, Manley raised the reward for information leading to the arrest of the bomber to $115,000 from $50,000. He said investigators haven't ruled out any motive and don't yet have any clear idea of "what the ideology is behind this." Peter Weber

12:45 a.m. ET
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A Cirque du Soleil aerialist died Saturday after he fell 20 feet during a performance of the show Volta in Tampa, the company announced Sunday.

Yann Arnaud, 38, of France later died at the hospital. A husband and father of two, Arnaud had been performing with Cirque du Soleil for 15 years and was one of the most experienced members. Daniel Lamarre, president and chief executive of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, told Reuters he was "very surprised" by Arnaud's death, and he couldn't describe how badly everyone at Cirque du Soleil felt. "It's terrible," he said.

Authorities said Arnaud was performing an aerial strap act on the double rings, and he fell after one of his hands slipped. In the 34-year history of the company, this is the third death of a Cirque performer. The incident is now under investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Catherine Garcia

12:24 a.m. ET

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), undergoing cancer treatment in Arizona, has been unable to appear on the Sunday news shows, but he still joined a thin chorus of Republicans on Sunday to defend Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with President Trump's campaign. Over the weekend, Trump lashed out at Mueller by name on Twitter for the first time, raising concerns that he would fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a prelude to ordering Mueller's ouster.

Trump's error-filled tweets prompted several top Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, to urge Congress to pass stalled bipartisan legislation to shield Mueller from political interference and Trump's wrath. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his top deputies have not commented on Trump attacking Mueller, and House Speaker Paul Ryan said through his spokeswoman simply that "Mueller and his team should be able to do their job."

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeff Flake (R-N.M.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) all voiced support for Mueller on Sunday, as did Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), but the GOP leaders of the House and Senate intelligence and judiciary committees have remained silent. One Trump lawyer, John Dowd, urged an end to the Mueller investigation on Saturday, but a second lawyer, Ty Cobb, said late Sunday that Trump "is not considering or discussing the firing of the special counsel, Robert Mueller." Trump can't fire Mueller directly, and the man who can (for cause), Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said last week that Mueller "is not an unguided missile" and "I don't believe there is any justification at this point for terminating the special counsel." Peter Weber

12:12 a.m. ET
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When she leaves Washington, D.C., don't expect to see outgoing White House Communications Director Hope Hicks write a juicy memoir or run for office. "She doesn't particularly like politics," one person close to Hicks told New York's Olivia Nuzzi. "She's loyal to Mr. Trump." Nuzzi spoke with more than 30 current and former White House officials about Hicks, and among other things, she learned more about her terminated relationship with Rob Porter, the onetime White House staff secretary.

Last month, Porter's two ex-wives went public with abuse allegations, and one, Jennifer Willoughby, told Nuzzi that Porter asked her repeatedly to take down a blog post that detailed the accusations without naming Porter. She declined, and in late January he called again, demanding she take it down because someone "was unhappy with him" and going to alert the media. At first Willoughby thought it was former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, because Porter blocked him from sharing his "racist agenda," she said, but now she thinks it was actually Corey Lewandowski — Trump's former campaign manager.

Lewandowski and Hicks reportedly had an affair during the campaign, and one person told Nuzzi that Lewandowski "has, sort of, Single White Male characteristics." Not only did he dislike Porter, he also doesn't like White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who at first defended Porter after the abuse allegations became public (they were already known in the White House).

The person who tipped off the media about the abuse knew "this would be part of a larger story related to security clearances and John Kelly and others, seeking to sow chaos and dissension," Nuzzi was told. Kelly himself is no fan of Hicks, calling her "the high schooler" and "immature," because he "doesn't like a woman that potentially has some position of power over him," one person told Nuzzi. Read the entire, in-depth article at New York. Catherine Garcia

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