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April 5, 2016

Winning a national championship is always thrilling, but the victory for Villanova on Monday night was turned up to 11. Never mind that it was the men's basketball team's first NCAA title since 1985 — the tie-breaking points were earned on a breathtaking, buzzer-beating shot.

Embodying the thrill and joy of college basketball was the winning call, made by an ecstatic announcer on Villanova student radio:

The Associated Press reports Villanova University canceled classes Tuesday so students could celebrate the win. Jeva Lange

9:44 a.m. ET

A teenaged survivor of last week's school shooting sat out CNN's gun control town hall Wednesday night, claiming the network tried to feed him lines.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School junior Colton Haab told Miami's ABC affiliate WPLG-TV that he did not go to the event — which was specifically centered around the attack at his Parkland, Florida, school — because CNN tried to control what he would say. "CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted," Haab said.

Haab said his rejected question focused on the possibility of hiring veterans as armed security guards at high schools, an idea that President Trump supports. But CNN pushed back on Haab's claim of censorship, saying that Haab and his father elected beforehand not to participate in the town hall and told the network as much. A spokesperson for CNN also told The Hill: "CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night's town hall, nor have we ever."

Watch WPLG-TV's interview with Haab (starting at 1:01) below. Kelly O'Meara Morales

8:49 a.m. ET
THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, might soon be back in the military, half a dozen defense and administration officials told CNN.

Trump and McMaster's strained relationship was not helped this weekend by the president's public criticism of the three-star general. "General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC, and the Dems," Trump tweeted. One Republican insider explained that the tension between the pair comes from a difference in "personality and style."

The White House would be in an awkward spot trying to oust McMaster, though, because of the turnover in the position already: Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is notably at the heart of the ongoing Russia investigation. Although Pentagon officials are reportedly looking for a possible four-star military job for McMaster that could be viewed as a promotion, "some defense officials caution that the president could also go as far as not to offer him a fourth star and force him to retire," CNN writes.

While the reports could be nothing more than rumors, a person with knowledge of the situation summed up McMaster's standing: "He is safe until he's not." Jeva Lange

8:34 a.m. ET

President Trump announced Thursday his support for stricter gun laws after last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and teachers dead. Trump said he would push for "comprehensive background checks with an emphasis on mental health," as well as support raising the minimum age for purchasing firearms to 21 and ending bump stock sales.

"Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue," he added.

Earlier in the morning, Trump reiterated his controversial plan to arm "only the best" teachers, claiming "if a potential 'sicko shooter' knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school." Jeva Lange

8:22 a.m. ET

NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch represented her organization at the CNN town hall in Florida Wednesday night, and she wasn't terribly popular with Parkland survivors in the audience. Student Emma Gonzalez asked Loesch if she believed "it should be harder to obtain the semiautomatic weapons and modifications to make them fully automatic," and Loesch talked mental health.

"I don't believe that this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm, ever," she said. "This individual is nuts," and no NRA member supports allowing "people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others getting their hands on a firearm." (She may want to check with her boss, Chris Cox, or mental health experts.) Eventually, Gonzalez had to interrupt Loesch and repeat her question. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel jumped in, too. "You just told this group of people that you're standing up for them," he said. "You are not standing up for them until you say, 'I want less weapons.'"

Scott also argued "we do need to have some gun control reform — 18-year-olds should never have a rifle," earning pushback from Loesch. "If you're old enough to vote, you're old enough to drive a car, old enough to serve your country, I think that you are old enough — if," she said, "if you are not a danger to yourself or others." She did not explain who would determine mental fitness or what threats merit losing gun privileges. "You're absolutely not the litmus test for how law enforcement should follow up," Scott said.

Loesch also sparred with slain teacher Scott Beigel's mother and an AP history teacher. Peter Weber

8:04 a.m. ET

President Trump suggested a controversial solution to America's gun violence crisis during a listening session with survivors and family of survivors on Wednesday. "If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly," the president said. "I really believe if these cowards knew that the school was well guarded … I think they wouldn't go into the school to start off with."

On Thursday, Trump backed off the proposal, only to reiterate it again:

Trump faced pushback immediately from Sandy Hook parents in the room for the proposal, the Hartford Courant reports. Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel in the 2012 attack, told the president: "A deranged sociopath on his way to commit an act of murder in a school, knowing the outcome is going to be suicide, is not going to care if there's somebody there with a gun. That's their plan anyway." Jeva Lange

6:41 a.m. ET
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The latest school mass shooting, and the vocal advocacy of student survivors at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has made enacting new gun restrictions a viable possibility for the first time in years. Not everyone is happy about that. In a discussion Wednesday about calls for stricter gun laws, first-term Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) offered an interesting rebuttal. "Yeah, well, obviously there is a lot of politics in it, and it's interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats, but the media doesn't talk about that either," Tenney told Talk 1300 Radio host Fred Dicker.

Tenney already has a Democratic challenger for November, state Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, and he called the comments "disgusting" and "toxic." He urged Tenney to apologize, but instead she issued a statement Wednesday night saying she is "fed up with the media and liberals attempting to politicize tragedies and demonize law-abiding gun owners and conservative Americans every time there is a horrible tragedy."

The people who perpetrate "these atrocities have a wide variety of political views," Tenney clarified, adding that her comments were "about the failure to prosecute illegal gun crime," and she "will continue to stand up for law-abiding citizens who are smeared by anti-gun liberal elitists." Tenney did not explain why she thinks "anti-gun liberal elitists" would care about the party affiliation of mass shooters, when what they really want is fewer military-style weapons for any civilian. Peter Weber

5:46 a.m. ET
Carlos Schiebeck/AFP/Getty Images

The Rev. Billy Graham, who died in his sleep on Wednesday morning at age 99, will lie in repose under a revival-style tent for two days next week before being buried in a coffin made by inmates on March 2, said Mark DeMoss, spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Graham, known as "America's Pastor," was a counselor to American presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush, which was "a source of pride for conservative Christians who were often caricatured as backward," The Associated Press says. But when his good friend Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in disgrace, Graham was "devastated and baffled."

After being burned by Nixon, Graham "resolved to take a lower profile in the political world, going as far as discouraging the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a founder of the Moral Majority, from mixing religion and politics," AP reports, offering this 1981 advice from Graham: "Evangelicals can't be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle, to preach to all the people, right and left. ... I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will in the future."

Falwell did not heed Graham's advice — the Moral Majority, and the evangelical Christian power structure Graham made possible, became deeply entwined in Republican politics, but Graham had his lapses, too: He effectively endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, AP notes. Graham's son and heir, Rev. Franklin Graham, is one of President Trump's most stalwart supporters.

Billy Graham was "firmly committed to remaining bipartisan," but his "legacy of outreach across lines of race, class, and political party doesn't seem as resonant in contemporary evangelicalism," Emma Green says at The Atlantic. "His death marks the end of an era for evangelicalism, and poses a fundamental question: Will his legacy of bipartisan, ecumenical outreach be carried forward?" Peter Weber

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