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Bannon says Trump now understands how to use presidential power: 'The pearl-clutchers better get used to it'

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon said in a new interview that President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE has grasped the powers of the presidency as he ramps up pressure on the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

“He is mad and he should be mad. The Democrats and the media wasted three years of the nation’s time on a witch hunt,” Bannon told The Washington Post.

“Now he understands how to use the full powers of the presidency," he added. "The pearl-clutchers better get used to it.”

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The remark comes amid increased scrutiny over Trump’s recent comments slamming the DOJ for investigating or prosecuting some of his current and past associates. 

Most notably, the DOJ raised eyebrows when it asked a federal court to sentence longtime Trump adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneTrump grants clemency to five nonviolent offenders Trump remarks put pressure on Barr DOJ veteran says he's quitting over Barr's 'slavish obedience' to Trump MORE to "far less" than the seven to nine years prosecutors had recommended just a day earlier. 

The department’s request came after the president criticized the first sentencing guidance on Twitter as a “horrible and very unfair situation,” leading some Democrats to accuse the DOJ of taking its cues from the White House.

“This situation has all the indicia of improper political interference in a criminal prosecution,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFive takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference Pelosi calls Iran 'bad actor' but not equivalent to Russia on election interference Schumer says briefing on Iranian election interference didn't convince him effort was meant to hurt Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a letter this week to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Trump later went after the federal judge in Stone’s case over her ruling in another case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ veteran says he's quitting over Barr's 'slavish obedience' to Trump Bruce Ohr retires from DOJ Don't forget: The Trump campaign gave its most sensitive data to a Russian spy MORE and openly urged the Justice Department to retaliate against four former FBI officials who were involved in the agency’s Russia investigation. 

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“Is this the Judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure? How did she treat Crooked Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Trump, Biden tangle over Wall Street ties, fundraising The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage MORE? Just asking!” he tweeted.

“Where’s [James] Comey?” Trump asked Wednesday in the Oval Office. “What’s happening to [Andrew] McCabe? What’s happening to Lisa and — to Pete Strzok and Lisa Page? What’s happening with them? It was a whole setup, it was a disgrace for our country, and everyone knows it, too, everyone.”

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Democrats have come out firing over the recent remarks, demanding answers from Attorney General William BarrBill BarrSeattle, Portland, NYC sue Trump administration over threat to pull federal money Trump says he doesn't actually want Whitmer, Biden and Obama to be locked up despite chants Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo MORE, who will testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee next month. 

“In the interest of transparency, we wish to be candid about one set of concerns we plan to address at the hearing. Since President Trump took office, we have repeatedly warned you and your predecessors that the misuse of our criminal justice system for political purposes is both dangerous to our democracy and unacceptable to the House Judiciary Committee,” the panel wrote in a letter Wednesday.

Bannon, who headed the conservative media outlet Breitbart prior to joining the White House, left the administration in 2017. Bannon had clashed with the president’s son-in-law, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump creates federal council on global tree planting initiative | Green group pushes for answers on delayed climate report | Carbon dioxide emissions may not surpass 2019 levels until 2027: analysis Trump creates federal government council on global tree planting initiative Kardashian West uses star power to pressure US on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict MORE, former National Economic Council Director Gary CohnGary David CohnGary Cohn: 'I haven't made up my mind' on vote for president in November Kushner says 'Alice in Wonderland' describes Trump presidency: Woodward book Former national economic council director: I agree with 50 percent of House Democrats' HEROES Act MORE and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster prior to his departure and was reportedly suspected of leaking information to reporters about his political enemies.

— This report was updated at 7:35 a.m.