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April 16, 2018

Without her children pitching in to help and offering words of encouragement, Iesha Champs likely wouldn't be graduating next month from Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

The Houston resident had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get where she is today. Her father died when she was young, and her mother was addicted to drugs. When she became pregnant at 19 with her first child, Champs was homeless and had to drop out of high school and find a job. In 2009, she told CBS News, her life took a devastating turn: Pregnant with her fourth child, Champs lost her job, her home was destroyed in a fire, and the father of her children died from cancer.

Champs then met a pastor who told her she needed to get her GED. She did, and then went on to Houston Community College and University of Houston-Downtown, before taking on law school. As a child, she dreamed about becoming a lawyer, and her own kids helped that dream come true — they made flash cards for their mom, and served as a mock jury. Her eldest son, David, would also help his siblings with snacks and getting ready for school while Champs studied. To celebrate her pending graduation, Champs held a photo shoot with her kids, who held up signs reading "I helped" and "We did it." When she looks at the photos, Champs says, she sees "a woman who knew the odds were against her and she destroyed them." Catherine Garcia

9:10 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers, said on Tuesday that she wants the FBI to investigate Kavanaugh before she testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee announced on Monday it would be holding a public hearing next Monday, giving senators a chance to hear from Kavanaugh and Ford and ask them questions. Ford's lawyers said the "first step" before having her go "on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident" would be an FBI investigation, but did not entirely rule out an appearance should an investigation not take place.

It is highly unlikely Republicans will agree to change the date, and they could still hold the hearing on Monday without Ford. The Senate Judiciary Committee had scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh for this Thursday, but delayed it for Monday's hearing. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News on Tuesday evening if Ford "does not come on Monday, we are going to move on and vote on Wednesday." Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. Catherine Garcia

8:23 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer

Due to their close relationship, many people have speculated that Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie are a couple, and a former writer for the show said those viewers are correct.

In an interview with Queerty, Mark Saltzman said while writing for the characters, he used his own experiences with his partner. "I didn't have any other way to contextualize them," Saltzman said. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces Sesame Street, quickly released a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying that not only are Bert and Ernie not gay, but they don't have a sexual orientation, period.

"As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends," Sesame Workshop declared. "They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation." A few hours later, Sesame Workshop followed up with another statement, saying Sesame Street has "always stood for inclusion and acceptance. It's a place where people of all cultures and backgrounds are welcome." Should Bert and Ernie weigh in on the matter, this report will be updated. Catherine Garcia

7:39 p.m. ET
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Polish President Andrzej Duda wants the United States to establish a permanent military base in his country, and knows that President Trump reacts well to flattery, so he came up with a pretty solid plan to get his way: promise to name the base Fort Trump.

Duda and Trump appeared at a joint news conference in Washington on Tuesday, where Duda invited Trump to "post more American military troops in Poland" as a "guarantor of security." Duda said he would "very much like for us to set up a permanent American base in Poland which we would call Fort Trump. I firmly believe that this is possible."

Trump said he would consider the request. "He would pay the United States, meaning Poland would be paying billions of dollars for a base," Trump said. "We're looking at that more and more from the standpoint of defending really wealthy countries." Poland is closely watching Russia and its military moves, and Trump believes that having a presence in the country would keep Russian President Vladimir Putin in check. "I think that Russia has acted aggressively," he said. "They respect force. They respect strength, as anyone does. And we have the greatest strength in the world, especially now." Catherine Garcia

6:52 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Diocese of Brooklyn on Tuesday paid a $27.5 million settlement to four men who were sexually abused by a religion teacher when they were children.

The abuse took place between 2003 and 2009 at St. Lucy's-St. Patrick's Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, when the boys were between the ages of eight and 12. The New York Times reports that the boys were repeatedly abused by 67-year-old Angelo Serrano, a lay teacher of religion and director of religious education; he was arrested in September 2009 and pleaded guilty in 2011 to first-degree sexual conduct charges. Serrano is now serving a 15-year prison sentence.

The victims, now between the ages of 19 and 21, will each receive $6,875,000. This is one of the largest settlements ever reached with victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Catherine Garcia

5:48 p.m. ET

Mark Judge, the other man mentioned in Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, wants no part in this situation.

In an interview with The Washington Post published Sunday, Ford described how Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a party when they were both in high school in the 1980s. Judge, Kavanaugh's high school classmate, was in the room when it happened, Ford said, and Ford was able to escape when Judge jumped on top of her and Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh has categorically denied the incident. Judge defended the nominee in a statement from his lawyer Tuesday, saying that he had "no memory of the incident" and that he "never saw [Kavanaugh] act in the manner Ford described." He also said he would not testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying he had "no more information to offer" and did not "wish to speak publicly" about the allegation any further.

Judge's first response to the situation came in Friday interview with conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, in which he said he didn't know about the alleged incident until a reporter called him for comment. Judge went on to deny the situation ever happened and that he "never saw Brett [Kavanaugh] act that way." Ford and Kavanaugh are both scheduled to testify publicly to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the allegation next week. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:35 p.m. ET

"You can see I'm a little upset by this, the unfairness of it," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told reporters Tuesday in a massive understatement.

Hirono was part of a gaggle of Senate Democrats speaking to the media Tuesday regarding the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. California professor Christine Blasey Ford over the weekend publicly accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a party while they were both high schoolers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has steadfastly denied the claim — but while he was expected to pass through a Thursday vote by the committee and eventually on to full confirmation, Ford's allegation has upended the process.

Now, both Ford and Kavanaugh will testify before the Senate next week regarding the allegation. "I think we all know when something is unfair, when something smells," Hirono told reporters Tuesday. She explained that she resented the White House's "victimization" of Ford, who is "under absolutely no obligation to participate in a smearing of her and her family." When a reporter asked Hirono whether she felt her status as one of just four women on the Senate Judiciary Committee has affected the proceedings, Hirono lit up: "Of course it helps that there are women on that committee," she said. "But really: Guess who's perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It's the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing — for a change."

You can watch Hirono's fiery declaration — as well as her semi-sheepish acknowledgment that she was just "a little upset" — below. Kimberly Alters

5:15 p.m. ET
iStock/kasinv

Banks may now want to keep a watchful eye out for Amazon.

In a new survey of 6,000 U.S. customers by Bain & Company, 65 percent of Amazon Prime customers said they would try a free online bank account offered by Amazon that offered 2 percent cash back on Amazon purchases. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was toying with the idea of partnering with banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. to create a "checking account-like product" for customers.

Bain's new survey, conducted in collaboration with Research Now, shows where consumer loyalty lies by evaluating customers' ties to Amazon versus traditional banks. The survey measured how likely respondents were to recommend a company to a friend or relative and assigned a corresponding "loyalty score" to each contender. Amazon out-ranked regional and national banks with a score of 47, Bain found, as opposed to 31 and 18, respectively. The military-focused United Services Automobile Association was the top financial service, with a score of 79.

"The big banks have absolutely woken up to this threat," Gerard du Toit, a Bain partner and co-author of the report, told CNBC. "They're very focused on Amazon-proofing their business because they recognize that it's big tech, not the other banks or fin-tech startups, that's the real competition." By entering the banking world, Amazon would save on credit card processing fees merchants owe to card-issuing banks, as well as have access to records of what their customers purchase even outside of Amazon's virtual walls, per Bain — upping their cache of valuable consumer data.

Interest isn't limited to Amazon customers, either. Thirty-seven percent of respondents who don’t currently use Amazon services were willing to give Amazon banking a try, per the study. See more results at Bain & Company. Taylor Watson

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