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 TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' 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 StoneRoger Stone to surrender to prison by June 30 Sunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase Brzezinski says she arranged call with Twitter CEO to discuss banning 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFederal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in VA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment 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 ManafortCohen released from federal prison to home confinement due to coronavirus concerns Advocates call on states to release more inmates amid pandemic Michael Cohen to be moved to home confinement due to coronavirus concerns: report 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 ClintonTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Van Jones: A 'white, liberal Hillary Clinton supporter' can pose a greater threat to black Americans than the KKK Taylor Swift slams Trump tweet: 'You have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence?' 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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrValerie Jarrett to DOJ on George Floyd: 'We expect action, we expect justice' Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Flynn urged Russian diplomat to have 'reciprocal' response to Obama sanctions, new transcripts show 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 KushnerTrump's strategy to stay in office Trump tries to soothe anxious GOP senators Press: King Donald's goal - no checks, no balances MORE, former National Economic Council Director Gary CohnGary David CohnFormer national economic council director: I agree with 50 percent of House Democrats' HEROES Act Sunday shows preview: Congress spars over next round of coronavirus relief; GOP seeks offensive after news of Flynn 'unmasking' The Memo: Speculation grows about Fauci's future 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.