'Start Here': Sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh and Trump and Congress weigh gun control options

Here's what you need to know to start your day.

It's Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. Let's start here.

1. Kavanaugh allegation

Max Stier, a former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh's, reportedly notified senators and the FBI about a story involving Kavanaugh exposing himself at a party and said Kavanaugh's friends pushed him into a female student's hand, according to the Times. Stier told ABC News he is not speaking publicly about the account.

During Kavanaugh's confirmation fight, the FBI launched a background investigation limited in scope to examine multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, all of which Kavanaugh categorically denied, but Stier's previously unreported claim was never investigated, the Times said.

"The FBI is being adamant about no comment," ABC News' Kyra Phillips tells the "Start Here" podcast. "I can tell you though this is not going to go away. I think we're going to see a lot more attention put on these new questions raised by this new report."

Kavanaugh declined to comment to ABC News about the Times story, adapted from the new book "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation," but defenders have raised concerns about the Times not including friends of the woman saying she doesn't recall the incident.

2. Congress and gun control

As the president weighs which gun control legislation to throw his support behind, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged Trump over the phone on Sunday to back a bipartisan background checks bill already passed by the Democratic-led House.

The pair also noted in a joint statement a promise to stand by Trump for a "historic signing ceremony at the Rose Garden" if he supported the legislation and got Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on board.

McConnell has repeatedly said he would not bring up gun control legislation without the president's backing.

"They are appealing to what this president likes," ABC News' Trish Turner, who covers Capitol Hill, says. "He likes being the first to do anything...so the speaker and the minority leader in the Senate are trying to say, Mr. President, you have a unique opportunity, you can do what no other president's done."

3. Saudi refinery attack

The White House is blaming Iran for a coordinated drone strike that hit the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, knocking out about half of the country’s oil supply.

Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter there was no evidence to support that. A senior administration official told ABC News more than 20 drones were used in the strike, as well as cruise missiles, and that Iran definitely was behind it.

In an apparent move to stem market anxiety on Sunday, the president tweeted his intention to authorize the release of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve, if needed.

"Both the Saudis and the Americans have said that they will both tap into reserve stocks if needed... but traders will be looking at an increased geopolitical risk with oil coming from Saudi Arabia," ABC News Foreign Correspondent Julia Macfarlane says.

"Start Here," ABC News' flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


'Hundreds of millions of dollars': Purdue Pharma, the company that made billions selling the prescription painkiller OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy in White Plains, New York, days after reaching a tentative settlement with many of the state and local governments suing it over the toll of opioids.

'It was in my stomach': A San Diego woman has had surgery after dreamed she was forced to eat her engagement ring woke up to discover that she had actually eaten it.

'The picket lines will go up': More than 49,000 union workers for General Motors walked off their jobs Sunday night at and went on a nationwide strike after negotiations for a new labor contract hit a stalemate.

'Prayers are with the agents involved': A Border Patrol agent was shot in Texas over the weekend while conducting a traffic stop near the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said. The suspect was shot and killed by the agent's partner soon after.

From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

'Welcome to Pollapalooza': Amid headlines about racist tweets, trade wars and hurricane maps, President Trump’s approval rating has dipped slightly since the middle of July.

Doff your cap:

Khloe Land, of Coos Bay, Oregon, has been nicknamed "the superhero" by her family -- and for good reason. The 4-year-old is scheduled to donate bone marrow today to her younger brother, Colton, who was born without an immune system.

"My husband and I were hoping it was our older daughter because she understood and she wanted to be the one to help her little brother," said Khloe's mother. "When we found it was Khloe, she was really excited at first and then fear kicked in within about 30 seconds and she broke down and told us how scared she was." Khloe's parents even bought a special superhero dress for Khloe to wear on transplant day and to help make her feel special in the days ahead.

Thanks to Khloe, her brother is expected to live a normal life. "Doctors have told us that around one year after transplant [Colton] can live a normal life as a kid and be out playing in the dirt and being with other kids," said Khloe's mother.

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