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July 12, 2018
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Democratic Reps. Kathleen Rice (N.Y.) and Lou Correa (Calif.) let their real opinions fly free once they thought they had finished up at Thursday's House Homeland Security Committee hearing. Instead, their not-so-private fiery exchange was caught by Politico reporter Eric Geller.

Describing the "open-mic moment," Geller noted that Rice and Correa were apparently upset by the answers they got from two top DHS officials, who declined to answer when the lawmakers asked whether they agreed with the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia attempted to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

"Truly outrageous. It's outrageous ... F--king outrageous," said Rice, still on mic. "They have no right being in the positions that they're in if they don't take a position like that. No right." Correa, also on mic, gave the DHS officials the benefit of the doubt, pointing out that "they're not gonna put their jobs at risk." Rice wasn't having it, saying they "can get a job somewhere else" if they don't want to answer questions at congressional hearings. "Give me a f--king break," she said, with which Correa concurred.

When a staffer said that other DHS staffers had already agreed with the conclusions of the report, Rice continued to excoriate the officials who had demurred at the hearing. "This is what I'm saying," she said. "Just say yes!" Thursday has been chock-full of tense hearings — stay tuned to see if any other lawmakers say something ferocious. Summer Meza

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
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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
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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

3:53 p.m. ET

President Trump is coming to Brett Kavanaugh's defense.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Trump said that Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee who California professor Christine Blasey Ford claims attempted to rape her at a high school party in the 1980s, is an "incredible individual," per CBS News. Trump also said that he feels "so badly for [Kavanaugh] that he's going through this," adding that "this is not a man that deserves this." Kavanaugh has denied the allegations against him and reportedly told Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that he wasn't at the party in question.

Trump additionally criticized Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), who in July received a letter Ford wrote detailing her allegation; the president asked why Feinstein did not bring the matter up earlier, in her meetings with Kavanaugh. Ford has said she requested anonymity from Feinstein and only decided to come forward with her story this weekend after the media began to report on her confidential letter.

Prior to Tuesday's news conference, Trump had been uncharacteristically quiet about the Kavanaugh allegation, having yet to send a single tweet about it. He did, however, say earlier Tuesday that while he hasn't spoken to Kavanaugh, "I'm totally supportive, I'm very supportive," per CNBC. On Monday, he said that Kavanaugh was "one of the finest people that I've ever known," while saying that "we want to go through a process" regarding the allegation. Watch Trump's Tuesday comments below. Brendan Morrow

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