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September 20, 2018
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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sent Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) a letter Thursday accepting his invitation to attend a hearing on Monday regarding a sexual assault accusation made against Kavanaugh.

"From the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it," Kavanaugh wrote in the letter. "I remain committed to defending my integrity." He also said he wanted the hearing to take place as soon as possible so "that I can clear my name."

Christine Blasey Ford, a professor living in California, accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both teenagers. Grassley announced the hearing on Monday, before Ford and Kavanaugh agreed to attend, and Ford's lawyers have been negotiating with the committee on whether she will appear. Her lawyer said Thursday that it's "not possible" for Ford to testify in front of the panel on Monday, and "the committee's insistence that it occur then is arbitrary." That being said, if senators agree to "terms that are fair," Ford "would be prepared to testify next week." Ford had requested an FBI investigation before testifying. Catherine Garcia

9:49 a.m. ET
Hamptons International Film Festival

Actor Alec Baldwin called on voters to "overthrow" the government Sunday night, but he's not ready to haul out the guillotines.

"The way we implement change in America is through elections. We change governments here at home in an orderly and formal way," Baldwin said at a fundraising dinner in New Hampshire for the state's Democratic Party. "In that orderly and formal way and lawful way, we need to overthrow the government of the United States under Donald Trump." Baldwin may have been using "government" in the parliamentary sense, which is similar to how Americans commonly use "administration."

To support his case, Baldwin highlighted issues including gender equality, gun policy, criminal justice reform, and immigration. "There is a small cadre of people currently in power," he said, "who are hell-bent on continuing a malicious immigration policy that has set this country up for human rights violations charges by the global community."

The day before these comments, Baldwin reprised his role as President Trump on Saturday Night Live. Bonnie Kristian

9:25 a.m. ET

After speaking with Saudi King Salman about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump wants a second opinion.

Trump announced Monday on Twitter that he will be "immediately" sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the Saudi monarch. The president also noted King Salman "denies any knowledge of what may have happened" to Khashoggi, who disappeared after going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document he needed to get married. Turkey says it has evidence that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi, The Washington Post reports.

Trump has threatened to inflict "severe punishment" on Saudi Arabia if it is proven to be responsible, and on Sunday, Saudi Arabia threatened retaliation if the U.S. follows through on any sanctions, per The Associated Press.

Trump in his tweet specifically references the fact that Jamal Khashoggi is not an American citizen, going out of his way to quote Salman as saying Khashoggi was "our Saudi Arabian citizen." This is something Trump has previously pointed out several times, although he told Fox & Friends last week that the fact that Khashoggi isn't an American citizen "in this case doesn't matter" and that "I don't like it." Brendan Morrow

8:33 a.m. ET

The #MeToo movement has forced many on the left to reassess their feelings about the Bill Clinton impeachment scandal. But Hillary Clinton isn't budging.

Clinton told CBS in a new interview that her husband's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the mid-1990s was not an abuse of power, pointing to the fact that Lewinsky "was an adult." At the time of the scandal, Bill Clinton was 49 years old and Lewinsky was 22.

Lewinsky said in 2014 that her relationship with Clinton was consensual, although he "took advantage of" her. However, she said in February 2018 that she's now beginning to question this, saying that with such a power imbalance between the two, "the idea of consent might well be rendered moot." She also called what President Clinton did a "gross abuse of power."

Even some Democrats — including Hillary Clinton's successor in the Senate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) — now believe that President Clinton should have stepped down, but Hillary Clinton told CBS that her husband "absolutely" should not have done so. She pointed to the fact that there was an investigation that she believes "came out in the right place." When also asked what role she played in criticizing the character of her husband's accusers, Clinton responded, "none," saying she takes "responsibility for my life and my actions." Watch a portion of Clinton's interview with CBS below. Brendan Morrow

7:49 a.m. ET
Universal Pictures via YouTube

Ryan Gosling's First Man did not quite achieve lift-off.

The Neil Armstrong biopic came in third place at the box office this weekend, with last week's releases, Venom and A Star Is Born, taking the number one and number two slots respectively, Box Office Mojo reports. It earned $16.5 million, despite projections it would break $20 million and potentially even $25 million, per Variety. But although it had this weak start, the film could still end up being a success if it holds steady over the coming weeks, a distinct possibility considering the amount of Oscar buzz it has.

It seems A Star Is Born, another critically-acclaimed movie with Oscar buzz, may have just taken the wind out of its sails, as the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga musical grossed $28 million this weekend. That's only down about 33 percent compared to its debut, and it brings the film's total gross to nearly $100 million.

The biggest success story of the month, though, is Venom, which took the number one spot once again this weekend and grossed another $35 million after having the best October opening of all time. This brings the comic book film, based on the Spider-Man source material but without Spider-Man actually being in it, up to a domestic total of $142 million and counting, a massive success for Sony and a clear indicator that their planned universe of Spider-Man films has gotten off on the right foot with audiences. Brendan Morrow

7:37 a.m. ET

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took President Trump up on his offer. Trump, who regularly mocks Warren's assertion that she has Native American ancestry, said he would donate $1 million if she took a DNA test. Now she has. It found "strong evidence" she had a Native American in her family tree at least six generations ago, The Boston Globe reports. Warren provided a DNA sample to a lab in Georgia, and the results were analyzed by world-renowned Stanford DNA ancestry expert Carlos Bustamante and sent to Warren last week. "The vast majority" of her ancestry is European, Bustamante found, but the results also "strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor."

Six to 10 generations "fits Warren's family lore, passed down during her Oklahoma upbringing, that her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American," the Globe reports. But it also indicates she's no more that 1/32 Native American. Warren is expected to easily win re-election to the Senate in November, but the ad about her ancestry she released on Monday suggests she's serious about a run for president.

The Boston Globe extensively researched Republican claims that Warren got any of her academic jobs because of her claim to Native ancestry, and found only evidence that she was not considered a minority hire.

That's not to say people use dubious Native American ancestry to get preferential treatment. On Sunday, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported that a company owned by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) brother-in-law William Wages earned more than $7 million in federal contracts due to Wares' claim to be 1/8 Cherokee. Wares belongs to the federally unrecognized Northern Cherokee Nation, considered fraudulent interlopers by the three recognized Cherokee tribes. Neither Wares nor any of his known ancestors appear on tribal ancestry rolls dating back to the early 19th century, a Cherokee genealogist discovered, and the Times found that all of Wares ancestors identified as white. Peter Weber

6:05 a.m. ET

On Sunday, the New York Police Department said it is looking to identify three men recorded kicking and beating a man on the street Friday night after far-right commentator Gavin McInnes and his "Western chauvinist" Proud Boys spoke at the New York Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan's Upper East Side. McInnes told The Wall Street Journal in an email that the Republican Club event had included him re-enacting the 1960 assassination of Japanese socialist party leader Inejiro Asanuma by a sword-wielding 17-year-old far-right nationalist. After the re-enactment, McInnes wrote, he gave a speech "making fun of" liberals and mainstream media.

McInnes acknowledged that some of his Proud Boys had been involved in the vicious attack afterward. "It was a hell of a beating but that's what you get when you antagonize a group of people and relentlessly attack them for 24 hours," McInnes told the Journal. According to a video of the attack by freelance videographer Sandi Bachom, it started after one of the protesters who'd gathered outside the Republican club swiped a Proud Boy's MAGA hat. "If the cops hadn't pulled up, they probably would have just kept going and killed them," Bachom told Newsweek.

Police arrested three protesters for theft and assault on Friday night but none of the Proud Boys. They are also looking into Republican complaints that their clubhouse was vandalized with an anarchist symbol before the event. On Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called the Proud Boys "thugs."

Asanuma's murderer has been celebrated as a martyr by some right-wing groups. In 1960, the U.S., represented in Tokyo by Ambassador Douglas MacArthur, called the public assassination "deplorable." Peter Weber

4:33 a.m. ET

On Monday, right after Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, arrived in Sydney for a 16-day visit to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, Kensington Palace announced that the couple is expecting their first child in the spring. The prince and the former actress Meghan Markle "appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” the palace said.

The couple will also visit Fiji and Tonga, and their trip will include watching the Invictus Games, an international sporting competition for injured veterans that Prince Harry helped launch. Peter Weber

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