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 TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals 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 StoneSchumer on Trump intel shakeup: 'Disgrace,' 'closer to a banana republic' President Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime 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 SchumerWhite House asking Congress for .5 billion to fight coronavirus Hillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles Senate Democrats urge Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference 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 ManafortPresident Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks Free Roger Stone Trump tweets test Attorney General Barr 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 ClintonBloomberg called Warren 'scary,' knocked Obama's first term in leaked audio Trump trails Democratic challengers among Catholic voters: poll Sanders under fire from Democrats over praise for Castro regime 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 BarrPennsylvania Democrat says US Attorney's Office should prioritize opioids rather than 'Russian propaganda' from Giuliani President Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday 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 KushnerTrumps tour Taj Mahal to cap off first day in India The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate Blagojevich heaps praise on Trump after release from prison MORE, former National Economic Council Director Gary CohnGary David CohnBannon says Trump now understands how to use presidential power: 'The pearl-clutchers better get used to it' Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Gary Cohn says Trump's tariffs 'hurt the US' 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.