July 15, 2014

In true 21st-century comedian style, Brooks Wheelan announced his departure from Saturday Night Live on Monday night with a Twitter joke that's turning heads:

The shakeup isn't exactly surprising given the recent turnover in the SNL cast. In the last two seasons, SNL has lost the likes of Kristin Wiig, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, and Seth Meyers, and executive producer Lorne Michaels admitted the series would be entering a "rebuilding" period.

Wheelan's firing is the first casting change to be announced since the end of SNL's 39th season back in May — but considering Michaels' comments, it seems likely that it won't be the last. SNL added eight new cast members before last season, each of whom enjoyed varying degrees of prominence and success on the show. To figure out who else might be on the chopping block, Vulture analyzed the impact of each of the eight newbies, taking into account number of sketch appearances and how integral the cast member was in those appearances.

As you can see, Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett are the clear winners, and Vulture foresaw Wheelan's demise even back in May. According to their research, John Milhiser seems to be next in line for a trip to the boss' office — but we'll just have to wait and see what other news comes out in the coming months. To make your own guesses in the meantime, read the rest of Vulture's analysis here. Kimberly Alters

8:31 a.m. ET

Donald Trump backtracked on comments he made Wednesday in which he invited Russia to "find" emails deleted by Hillary Clinton. "Of course I'm being sarcastic," Trump told Fox News' Brian Kilmeade Thursday morning. "But you have 33,000 emails deleted, and the real problem is what was said on those emails from the Democratic National Committee."

It might be too little too late. Analysts have called Trump's comments "treasonous," and former CIA Director Leon Panetta told CNN, "You've got now a presidential candidate who is, in fact, asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that that's beyond the pale. I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be president of the United States." Jeva Lange

8:11 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the official Republican nominee, Donald Trump will be getting a briefing by the CIA and intelligence community in the coming days. Many have already expressed concerns that Trump, who is famously no-filter when speaking, might let slip national security secrets — and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is so concerned he thinks the intel officials should give Trump an entirely fake briefing.

"How would the CIA and the other intelligence agencies brief this guy? How could they do that? I would suggest to the intelligence agencies, if you're forced to brief this guy, don't tell him anything, just fake it, because this man is dangerous. Fake it, pretend you're doing a briefing, but you can't give the guy any information," Reid told The Huffington Post.

Officials have said that both Trump and Hillary Clinton will get identical briefings to avoid favoritism or bias, though it has been suggested that Hillary Clinton will have an advantage in the briefing because her experience in foreign policy will lead her to ask more probing questions than newcomer Trump. Jeva Lange

7:44 a.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

When Donald Trump announced he would be hosting an "Ask Me Anything" session on the social forum Reddit, it appeared to be a magnificent opportunity for transparency and clarification. This, coming from a man who will famously host "press conferences" and then not take a single question from the press. Now you can ask him anything! Okay, here we go.

But over the course of Trump's hour-long Q-and-A session, he only answered 12 questions, most with sparse and vague answers. Replying to "What role should NASA play in helping to Make America Great Again?" for example, Trump simply said, "Honestly I think NASA is wonderful! America has always led the world in space exploration."

Well, alright. But when "hard" questions were asked, like when journalist Olivia Nuzzi wondered why Trump won't release his tax returns "if he's rich and doesn't have ties to the Russians," the moderators immediately deleted them. What's more, as The Atlantic points out, "Trump broke tradition with his AMA. He didn't host it with the popular /r/IAmA subreddit, where most celebrities set up shop. Instead, he joined /r/The_Donald, a subreddit devoted to his candidacy that is populated by redditors who are fiercely loyal to him." The moderators posted a warning to outsiders that read "WE'RE R/THE_DONALD. OUR PLACE, OUR RULES."

Apparently that meant answering questions like, "Hello Mr. Trump. Are you getting tired of winning?" Trump wrote back "I am never tired of winning, and as your president I will win for you, the American people. I'm with you!"

Over the years, Reddit AMAs have allowed the average person to directly interrogate the likes of Barack Obama, Gordon Ramsay, Steve Wozniak, Patrick Stewart, and Bill Gates. The sessions represent the internet ideals of accessibility and communication. But "Tellingly, [Trump's] AMA thread was subject to heavy downvoting, a Reddit sign of disapproval, indicating other voices were not getting through," The Atlantic writes.

Maybe this session wasn't much different than ignoring a room full of raised hands. Jeva Lange

2:02 a.m. ET

Seth Meyers took a closer look at night two of the Democratic National Convention, the screams that took place during it, and Donald Trump's attempt to reach out to supporters of Bernie Sanders who feel spurned.

He first focused his attention on Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and onetime presidential candidate, who during his speech mocked the shouting that led to his downfall as a candidate. That was nothing compared to the howl let out by Meryl Streep later in the evening, which gave Meyers a great idea for Hollywood's next blockbuster: "Look for Meryl starring in The Howard Dean Story. There is no part she cannot play."

Meyers went on to scoff at a tweet sent out by Trump, encouraging Sanders backers to join his side if they "want to fix our rigged system and bring back our jobs." Trump believing that he'll attract Sanders supporters "is like WWE Raw thinking they'll get a bunch of new viewers now that Downton Abbey is off the air," Meyers quipped. "They're different shows, dude." While it didn't happen during the convention, Meyers also couldn't help but comment on the challenge Trump issued to Russian hackers during a press conference on Wednesday. "Not sure why Trump would openly ask Russia to spy on Americans, but I'm sure he has his treasons," he said coyly. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

1:00 a.m. ET

On July 27, 2004, a little known Illinois state senator named Barack Obama delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.

In his address, Obama introduced himself to most of the Democratic Party and the American people, sharing his unique back story while rallying for that year's nominee, John Kerry. Months later, Obama was elected to the United States Senate, and the rest is history. Catherine Garcia

12:15 a.m. ET

He had her back after her knockout speech at the Democratic National Convention on Monday, and the first lady returned the favor on Wednesday.

"That's my man!" Michelle Obama tweeted after her husband finished his address. "Your truth, dignity, and grace reminds us what real leadership looks like. I am always proud of our @POTUS." Earlier in the night, the first lady also had a special message for Vice President Joe Biden (who during his DNC speech called her "incredible"): "To one of my favorite men in the world. Joe, thank you and Jill for all you've done for this country. Our love for you is deep. So proud!" Catherine Garcia

12:01 a.m. ET

The Democratic National Convention closed out Wednesday night with Hillary Clinton and President Obama arm-in-arm onstage. After Obama wrapped up one of his last major speeches as president, Clinton surprised the convention by making her first in-person appearance. In a moment that solidified Obama's call for voters to keep his journey going, the two — the country's first black president and, possibly, its first female president — embraced, as cheers broke out on the convention floor.

Clinton will make her second — and much longer — appearance when she addresses the convention Thursday night. In the meantime, you can watch her surprise entrance, below. Becca Stanek

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