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Anti-Kavanaugh protestors outside the Supreme Court. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Chad Ludington, who attended Yale at the same time as Brett Kavanaugh, is the latest in a string of the embattled Supreme Court nominee's former classmates to claim he has mischaracterized "the degree and frequency" of his alcohol consumption in college, according to a statement provided to the N.Y. Times.

Why it matters: Even critics of Kavanaugh tend to agree that his drinking in college shouldn't automatically disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court, especially given how successful he still became in his academic and professional career. The real issue is whether Kavanaugh was wholly truthful in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which he claimed under oath that he had never blacked out from alcohol use and that drinking did not play an unusually large role in his social life.

The big picture: Several former classmates are unequivocal in their belief that Kavanaugh lied on national television about his drinking habits. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) said on "60 Minutes" Sunday night that if the FBI investigation reveals Kavanaugh did, in fact, lie during the hearing, the nomination would be "over."

  • In his statement, Ludington said that "Brett was a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker. I know, because, especially in our first two years of college, I often drank with him. On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive."
  • James Roche, Kavanaugh's freshman roommate, told The New Yorker that he recalled Kavanaugh being "frequently, incoherently drunk."
  • Another Yale classmate, Liz Swisher, told CNN, "There’s no problem in drinking beer in college. The problem is lying about it. He drank heavily, he was a partier, he liked to do beer bongs, he played drinking games, he was a sloppy drunk." Former classmate Lynne Brookes echoed that same sentiment: "There is no doubt in my mind that while at Yale, he was a big partier, often drank to excess and there had to be a number of nights where he does not remember."

The other side: Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Kavanaugh's most vocal Republican defenders on the Senate Judiciary, told ABC's "This Week" that Flake — as well as Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — wanted a "limited review" by the FBI of Kavanaugh's actions.

  • Graham said, "No, I think you're trying to portray him as a stumbling, bumbling drunk, gang rapist, who during high school and college was Bill Cosby. Six FBI background checks over the years would have uncovered this."
  • And President Trump chimed in on the issue in a Sunday tweet: "Wow! Just starting to hear the Democrats, who are only thinking Obstruct and Delay, are starting to put out the word that the 'time' and 'scope' of FBI looking into Judge Kavanaugh and witnesses is not enough. Hello! For them, it will never be enough — stay tuned and watch!"
  • "Chris Munnelly, a software executive in Scottsdale, Ariz., who was a freshman when Judge Kavanaugh was a senior, said, 'He was not a big drinker from my interactions with him.'" [NYT]

Go deeper

Read: Former Vice President Walter Mondale's last message

Photo courtesy of Mondale.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale wrote a farewell letter to his staff, sent upon his death on Monday, thanking them for years working together.

Dear Team,

Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!

Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight.

Joe in the White House certainly helps.

I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!

My best to all of you!

Fritz

Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at 93

Walter Mondale, left, with former President Jimmy Carter in Jan. 2018 at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's campus in Minneapolis. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Walter Mondale, who transformed the role of U.S. vice president while serving under Jimmy Carter and was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, died Monday at 93, according to a family spokesperson.

The big picture: President Biden, who was mentored by Mondale through the years, said in 2015 that the former vice president gave him a "roadmap" to successfully take on the job.

Scoop: U.S. ambassador refuses Kremlin push to leave Russia

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The United States ambassador to Russia is refusing to leave the country after the Kremlin "advised" him to return home following new Biden administration sanctions, two sources briefed on the situation tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Sullivan, a respected diplomat who President Biden has, so far, retained from the Trump era, is at the center of one of the most important early tests of Biden's resolve.