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Bannon: McConnell 'picking up his game' because of our 'insurgent movement'

Bannon: McConnell 'picking up his game' because of our 'insurgent movement'
© Greg Nash

Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News and former White House chief strategist, said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Senate candidate: Kavanaugh 'debacle' 'hugely motivating' to Missouri voters Trump praises McConnell: He ‘stared down the angry left-wing mob’ to get Kavanaugh confirmed Murkowski not worried about a Palin challenge MORE (R-Ky.) is "picking up his game" amid threats to his power posed by the "insurgency movement" led by President Trump.

In an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis that aired Sunday, Bannon blasted McConnell for what he described as lackluster support for Trump's agenda, but noted that the majority leader has worked more aggressively in recent weeks to confirm judicial nominees, pass a budget and push forward a tax-reform plan.

"Now that he's afraid, now that he sees that the grass-roots movement — whether it's in Alabama or Arizona or Tennessee or Mississippi — is going to replace his cronies like [Sens.] Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake: Congress should not continue Kavanaugh investigations Arizona congressional candidate robbed outside restaurant The Kavanaugh debate was destructive tribalism on steroids: Here’s how we can stop it from happening again MORE [R-Ariz.] and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump defends 0B US arms sale to Saudi Arabia Cornyn: 'All the money in the world' won't help O'Rourke win Texas Saudi Arabia, Turkey to form joint investigation into Khashoggi disappearance MORE [R-Tenn.], now he's scared, and now he's trying to move more federal judges through the system and really trying to cleave to President Trump's plan," Bannon said.

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Bannon, who left his White House post in August, has railed against McConnell — and the GOP establishment more broadly — vowing to oust him as majority leader and install lawmakers more closely aligned with Trump's brand of conservatism.

He has worked in recent months to recruit candidates to challenge GOP incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections, including Republican Kelli Ward, a former Arizona state senator who is vying for the Senate seat currently held by Flake.

Flake has been among Trump's most vocal critics in the GOP, and announced last month that he would not seek reelection, saying that he could not in good conscience defend or support the president. 

Bannon is also backing GOP candidate Roy Moore in Alabama's special Senate election. Moore defeated incumbent Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeTrump: 'I could pick a woman,' and she could be accused of misconduct Ann Coulter believes Kushner wrote anonymous op-ed bashing Trump Mulvaney: Trump regularly asks why Roy Moore lost MORE (R-Ala.) in a runoff election in September. Moore has faced allegations of sexual misconduct in recent days, including one accusation that he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was 32.