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July 21, 2014
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Though the occasional image has leaked from the set, Disney has done a remarkable job keeping details about Star Wars: Episode VII under wraps. But if a new report from Badass Digest is accurate, the basic storyline of the upcoming sequel has finally leaked — and fans of the original Star Wars are likely to experience a little déjà vu.

According to reporter Devin Faraci, the movie begins when a severed hand gripping a lightsaber falls onto a desert planet. The heroes, played by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, discover it and bring it to Han Solo and Chewbacca, who recognize it as Luke Skywalker's old lightsaber. Unfortunately, Luke has been missing since the events of Return of the Jedi 30 years earlier. And while our heroes attempt to track him down, "nefarious forces" are developing a weapon even more threatening than the Death Star — one that could destroy an entire solar system.

In a follow-up post, Faraci addressed those who were skeptical about his scoop. "A lot of people have found my initial report hard to believe. Me too!" he wrote. "That's why I got multiple sources to confirm it before I ran anything. Could they be wrong/spreading disinformation? Anything's possible, but both of these sources have proven to be absolutely impeccable in the past."

Read the rest of the story at Badass Digest. Scott Meslow

6:59 p.m. ET
Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II made it official on Thursday, publicly announcing for the first time that it is her "sincere wish" that "one day," Prince Charles lead the Commonwealth.

Being head of the Commonwealth is not hereditary, and upon the Queen's death, the role would not automatically go to the Prince of Wales. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is underway in London, and Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he believes it's likely the leaders will confirm Prince Charles on Friday. They will also discuss ocean conservation, trade, and cyber security during the two-day summit.

The Queen told the 53 leaders gathered at Buckingham Palace on Thursday it was a "pleasure" to welcome them to her home, and it is her "sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949." Catherine Garcia

5:23 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Rudy Giuliani, the former federal prosecutor and mayor of New York City, has joined President Trump's legal team. He will specifically join the corps of lawyers representing Trump in the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Giuliani is a high-profile new addition to a team that has "struggled to recruit new members to its ranks," The Washington Post wrote. Giuliani confirmed his new position in a Thursday interview with the Post, saying, "I'm doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country, and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller."

Trump is currently represented in Mueller's investigation by attorneys Jay Sekulow and Ty Cobb. Giuliani told the Post that he spoke to both men earlier this week about signing on. John Dowd, Trump's personal attorney in the Russia probe, stepped down last month, reportedly after concluding that Trump was ignoring his counsel.

Trump considered appointing Giuliani to be attorney general before ultimately selecting Jeff Sessions. In a statement released by his attorneys, Trump celebrated the hire, saying: "Rudy is great. He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country."

Read more about Giuliani's new gig at The Washington Post. Kimberly Alters

4:57 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Trump he isn't a target in the Russia probe, two sources "familiar with the matter" told Bloomberg.

Rosenstein's assurance reportedly came last Thursday, after Trump spent weeks tweeting his displeasure with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling. Rosenstein appointed Mueller to lead the investigation in March 2017.

Rosenstein's disclosure reportedly led the president to slow down his attacks on Mueller's probe. Trump told one source that he doesn't even want to fire either Rosenstein or Mueller now, Bloomberg reports, because a dismissal could stretch out the investigation.

But Rosenstein may have told Trump something that's not quite true, Bloomberg reports. Just because Mueller isn't going after Trump now doesn't mean he won't eventually, a U.S. official "with knowledge of the unfolding investigation" noted. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:22 p.m. ET

CIA Director Mike Pompeo is vying to become the next secretary of state, and on Thursday his efforts got a significant boost.

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) announced her support for Pompeo in a statement Thursday, becoming the first Democratic senator to indicate she would vote to confirm Pompeo as America's chief diplomat. Heitkamp said Pompeo is "committed to empowering the diplomats at the State Department so they can do their jobs in advancing American interests."

That vote could put Pompeo across the finish line, per CBS News — even if one Republican isn't his favor. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul hasn't backtracked on his intention to vote down or even filibuster the nomination, but Heitkamp's vote would make up for it. Still, Arizona's Republican senators may complicate things, as Jeff Flake is still up in the air and John McCain is away from the Capitol undergoing cancer treatment. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:36 p.m. ET

America's favorite space telescope celebrated its 28th year among the stars by delivering a remarkable new find.

The Hubble Space Telescope captured two pictures of the faraway Lagoon Nebula. One taken in visible light reveals a rainbow of space gas and dust, while the other taken in infrared reveals countless cosmos and the bright star at the center of the nebula.

The Lagoon Nebula is known as a "stellar nursery," as its outermost gas and dust clouds are constantly contracting to form new stars. You can hop onboard the Hubble for a colorful journey through the Lagoon Nebula in this video. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:03 p.m. ET
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

White evangelicals have more faith in President Trump than ever before.

A new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute shows 75 percent of white evangelical protestants have a favorable view of Trump. When it comes to 2020, 69 percent of Republican or Republican-leaning evangelicals said they'd support Trump over another candidate.

That's a huge spike from the 2016 election, where evangelical support for Trump stayed below 50 percent until September of that year.

Trump's nationwide popularity is reaching a high, too. PRRI's survey shows 42 percent of Americans see Trump favorably, which is the highest mark his popularity has hit since reaching 43 percent in early 2017.

PRRI surveyed 2,020 adults over the phone from March 14-24. The results have a 2.6 percent margin of error. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:58 p.m. ET

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) made history on Thursday by casting a vote with her newborn baby in tow. The Senate voted Wednesday night to allow babies up to 1 year old on the floor during votes after Duckworth became the first senator to give birth while in office earlier this month.

Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, who is just 11 days old, accompanied Duckworth as she cast a vote against the nomination of Jim Bridenstine for NASA administrator:

History adorably made. Jeva Lange

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