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August 4, 2014
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A House investigation into the Benghazi embassy attack concluded that the Obama administration was not guilty of any deliberate, negligent wrongdoing, according to Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.). Thompson told SFGate that the report, from a GOP-led panel, "confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order" was given to troops in the area.

The House Intelligence Committee voted last week to declassify the report, pending approval from security agencies.

Certainly it's possible Thompson was sugar-coating the report ahead of its formal release. Yet the broad conclusion he outlined — that while the administration botched its initial talking points due to conflicting intelligence, it was not hiding some big explosive scandal — further undercuts the GOP's claims to the contrary. A bipartisan Senate report released in January similarly found that there was no evidence of a cover-up.

Nevertheless, House Republicans are still pressing ahead with a separate investigation into the attack. And though House Democrats have agreed to participate in it, they have branded the investigation a "political stunt" timed, coincidentally, to align with the midterm elections. Jon Terbush

3:05 p.m. ET
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Former Gov. Jim Gilmore ended his presidential aspirations in February after earning only 145 votes while running for the Republican nomination. Now, adding insult to injury, Gilmore was also just shut out from even being elected as a Virginia delegate to the Republican national convention.

Gilmore told The Washington Post that he had been "informally assured" he would be a Virginia delegate, but that Ted Cruz's team had mobilized to seize as many supporters as they could. As a result, the Virginia state convention over the weekend elected 10 Cruz supporters and three Trump supporters to send to Cleveland. Because Trump won the state, all delegates will be required to cast their first vote for him; the delegates would then be free to vote for whoever they want on a second ballot at a contested convention.

Still, Gilmore says he will be heading to Cleveland because "technically I'm still a candidate for president."

Gilmore has not endorsed any candidate, and The Washington Post notes his neutrality might be what made both Cruz and Trump supporters wary of sending him to the convention. Jeva Lange

2:55 p.m. ET
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Heidi Cruz is sticking up for her husband Ted, who, in a long-running joke, is often accused of being the Zodiac Killer. It's taken on a life beyond just internet memes: A February poll found 38 percent of Florida voters think it's possible the Republican presidential hopeful is responsible for the gruesome homicides.

"Well, I've been married to him for 15 years, and I know pretty well who he is, so it doesn't bother me at all," Cruz told Yahoo News on Monday. "There's a lot of garbage out there."

Whether you're married to Ted or not, you don't need to crack a cipher to figure out the Texas senator wasn't even born in time to have committed the earliest Zodiac crimes, which began in the late 1960s. Cruz, surely much to the chagrin of the conspiracy theorists, was born in 1970. Julie Kliegman

2:31 p.m. ET

Things were going fine for Carly Fiorina as she introduced Ted Cruz and his family to a crowd of supporters in La Porte, Indiana. That is, until she fell off the stage.

This is where it gets funny: Cruz definitely sees her go over, but unlike any sort of normal person he continues casually shaking supporters' hands while pretending like his vice presidential pick is not crumpled on some Indiana gym floor. Heidi Cruz at least appears to make some sort of attempt to help Fiorina back up:

Mediaite defends Cruz with footage showing a different angle of the fall, which reveals Fiorina did more of an awkward stumble off the stage than a full-on face plant. By Mediaite's estimate, the stumble-vs-face plant distinction voids Cruz's responsibility to abandon handshakes and check if Fiorina is okay, and thus the whole event does not, as some believe, qualify him for the running of history's greatest monster.

We'll leave that for you to decide. Jeva Lange

2:24 p.m. ET
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Fast & Furious director Justin Lin is in talks to direct the long-anticipated Space Jam 2 for Warner Bros. Lin is already at work on the script with Andrew Dodge, sources told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.

A sequel to the 1996 hit starring Michael Jordan has been rumored for some time. This time around, LeBron James is expected to star. The Cleveland Cavaliers star is, of course, already an acting vet, having appeared in Trainwreck in 2015. Julie Kliegman

1:53 p.m. ET
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Three planets near Earth may be habitable, an international team of scientists announced Monday. They're calling them the Red Worlds, The Boston Globe reports.

"This is a paradigm shift," said Julien de Wit, an MIT atmospheric scientist. "These planets are the best shots for us to search for other habitats, and maybe even life."

The planets have the potential to sustain liquid water and life, as they all have regions with temperatures that fall below 260 degrees. The scientists used a 60-centimeter telescope in Chile to detect the planets, which orbit a dwarf star 40 light years from Earth. Julie Kliegman

1:44 p.m. ET
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Donald Trump's wife, Melania, is highly successful at avoiding the limelight her husband basks in. Still, The New Yorker took a stab at trying to discover who the "ice queen" really is and what her relationship with The Donald is like — and the result is both revealing and hilarious. Take a look at some of the best lines from the profile below, then head on over to The New Yorker to read the whole thing. Jeva Lange

  • On living together: "[Melania] has taken on her husband's signature pout, in a connubial version of people who grow to look like their dogs."

  • On being on an immigrant wife #2: "If [Trump] is as concerned as he says he is by all the 'people that are from all over and they're killers and rapists and they're coming into this country,' he might consider building a wall around his pants."

  • On how the Trumps talk to (and about) each other: "'Where's my supermodel?' [Trump] yelled from the stage, at a town-hall meeting at the University of Pennsylvania, in 1999, shortly after ushering Melania onto the Howard Stern show to discuss the couple's 'incredible sex' and her lack of cellulite."

  • On wanting to be a Trump: "The infatuation with Trump is essentially a mass adoption fantasy. He is Daddy Warbucks without the New Deal vibe."

  • On Melania Trump: The Inside Story: "Despite some creepy overreaches ('He is also supposedly the first man to have ever slept with Melania'), [the authors] make a persuasive case that Melania has often retailed the basic details of her life as hyperbolically as Trump does his condominiums."

  • On being a mom: "At times, she seems even to be trolling the nation's working parents. 'I don't have a nanny,' she told Bazaar. 'I have a chef, and I have my assistant, and that's it. I do it myself.'"

  • On being a dad: "[Trump's] pride at never having changed a diaper is the weirdest boast of omission since Bill Clinton and his marijuana cigarette."

  • Melania on Melania: "In the 'My World' section of her Web site, she characterizes herself as a former design and architecture student, 'a captivating presence in front of the camera,' 'an aqua-eyed beauty,' a wife, a mother, a philanthropist, a New Yorker, and a participant in 'numerous television commercials, most recently for Aflac,' in which she 'stars with one of America's top icons, the Aflac duck.'"
1:12 p.m. ET
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Bernie Sanders was interrupted by some colorful language at an Indiana rally Monday.

In the middle of Sanders' standard refrain about standing up to Wall Street, a supporter in the crowd interjected with some harsh words for the 1 percent. As Sanders began to implore the crowd to "Tell the billionaire class..." one angry voter finished the sentence for him, shouting, "to f--k off!"

Sanders was unfazed, according to Politico. In fact, he seemed to relish the moment. After briefly continuing with his speech, the Democratic presidential candidate acknowledged his foul-mouthed supporter.

"Well, that is one way to phrase it," Sanders quipped. "See, I myself am constrained. I can't quite phrase it like that, but that's not bad."

Clearly amused, Sanders assured the crowd that he would not be repeating verbatim what his angry supporter had said.

"I will not repeat what the gentleman just said. But it's something with 'F off,'" Sanders joked. "I don't know what it was." Ben Shull

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