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Dan Karr had little use for politics until Donald Trump came along. He captivated the small business owner with his wrecking-ball candidacy and Karr has grown even more supportive since Trump became president.

"He's actually doing what he said he would do, which is unusual," the rangy 57-year-old marveled. Things like cutting taxes and rolling back government regulations.

But Karr's enthusiasm doesn't translate into excitement over November's midterm election — he may or may not vote — and that's a problem for Republicans fighting to keep their majorities on Capitol Hill.

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Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's 2012 presidential standard-bearer, launched his anticipated political comeback Friday by announcing his front-running bid for U.S. Senate with an ode to Utah and a mild swipe at President Trump.

In a 2 1/2-minute feel-good video, Romney held up his adopted home state as a model for the country and example that Washington could learn from. "Utah has balanced its budget," he said. "Washington is buried in debt."

"Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world," he went on, contrasting that stance with Trump's hard-line stance. "Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion."

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Dan Karr had little use for politics until Donald Trump came along. He captivated the small business owner with his wrecking-ball candidacy and Karr has grown even more supportive since Trump became president.

(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon remained tight-lipped during a House Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday, repeatedly refusing to answer some questions despite receiving a congressional subpoena for the panel’s Russia inquiry. 

“I am not authorized to answer that question,” Bannon said dozens of times, according to two sources with knowledge of the closed-door hearing who did not have permission to speak publicly.

It was Bannon’s second appearance before the House committee, and his responses showed ongoing coordination between Bannon and the White House despite his estrangement from President Trump.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Beirut.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Beirut. (Nabil Mounzer / EPA/Shutterstock)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday delivered a warning to Lebanon’s leaders about Hezbollah, saying the Shiite Muslim movement’s growing arsenal and participation in foreign conflicts pose a threat to the country and the region.

Speaking at news conference in Beirut with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose coalition government includes Hezbollah members, Tillerson said it was unacceptable for the Iran-backed militia to operate outside the control of the Lebanese authorities.

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  • White House
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Trump blasted a bipartisan immigration deal in the Senate Thursday, moments before lawmakers prepared to vote, writing on Twitter that passing the proposal would be a “total catastrophe.”

Trump’s harsh criticism of the bill backed by Republicans and Democrats marks a hardening of his immigration position. Just last month, Trump had said he would take the “heat” for a compromise and sign whatever Congress sent him. White House officials said earlier Thursday that Trump would veto the bipartisan bill if it made it to his desk. 

The immigration deal was crafted over several weeks by a group of 16 senators — Republicans, Democrats and one independent — and would protect so-called Dreamers from deportation in exchange for $25 billion for border security.

  • Immigration
Advocates for so-called Dreamers protest outside Trump Tower in New York on Sept. 5, 2017.
Advocates for so-called Dreamers protest outside Trump Tower in New York on Sept. 5, 2017. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

President Trump on Thursday threatened to veto a bipartisan Senate immigration plan, all but ensuring the collapse of an effort to protect Dreamers from deportation in exchange for $25 billion for border security.

The veto threat is the first of Trump's presidency, a bold move against an effort that had been painstakingly crafted by a group of 16 senators, Republicans and Democrats, working weeks behind closed doors on a consensus.

10:28 a.m. This post was updated with staff reporting.

(Paul Drinkwater / NBC)

Lest anyone doubt that Oprah Winfrey is not running for president, the billionaire media mogul is insisting — one more time — that she really, really means it.

“I am actually humbled by the fact that people think that I could be a leader of the free world, but it's just not in my spirit," she told “60 Minutes Overtime” in a web video interview released Thursday. “It's not in my DNA.”

Winfrey, now a special correspondent for “60 Minutes,” sparked talk of a presidential run with her rousing speech on sexual harassment at the Golden Globes in early January.

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Immigration activists hang a banner in the Capitol building in Washington recently.
Immigration activists hang a banner in the Capitol building in Washington recently. (John Moore / Getty Images)

Even as a bipartisan team in the Senate worked on a compromise bill to protect so-called Dreamers, the proposal came under an unusually sharp partisan attack by the federal departments that enforce immigration law.

In a statement issued before dawn Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security blasted the bipartisan deal in apocalyptic terms, saying “it would be the end of immigration enforcement in America.”

The proposal, which would include protections for Dreamers and $25 billion for a border wall and other security measures, “would effectively make the United States a Sanctuary Nation where ignoring the rule of law is encouraged,” the statement said.

Anti-travel ban protesters gather outside a federal courthouse in Seattle in December 2017.
Anti-travel ban protesters gather outside a federal courthouse in Seattle in December 2017. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

A federal appeals court said Thursday that President Trump’s latest travel ban targeting nationals of six Muslim-majority countries unconstitutionally discriminates against Muslims.

The Richmond, Va.-based U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 9-4 vote makes it the second federal appellate court to say the ban is illegal since it went into effect in September.

The San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit ruled in December that the travel ban violated federal immigration law.