Speed Reads

plots

Stephen Bannon is reportedly searching for pro-Trump challengers to take on Senate GOP incumbents

Stephen Bannon may be physically out of the White House, but he's not going to stop fighting establishment Republicans he sees as a threat to President Trump, several people with ties to Bannon told Politico.

Trump's former chief strategist, Bannon is leading a team of the president's allies who want to recruit pro-Trump candidates to face off against sitting Republican senators in 2018 primaries, Politico reports. He's already had meetings with some challengers, including Danny Tarkanian, an attorney who is challenging Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada; one person with knowledge of their conversation said Bannon told Tarkanian he has his full support. Heller didn't endorse Trump during his presidential campaign, and was slow to back the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare. A source close to Bannon tells CNN that other incumbents on Bannon's hit list include Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss.), and Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.).

In August, not long after he was out at the White House, Bannon went to New York and spent five days meeting with Robert Mercer, a reclusive conservative billionaire who pours his money into right-wing causes and has already given $300,000 to a super PAC targeting Flake, a critic of Trump's. Mercer was one of Trump's biggest donors in 2016, and Bannon will most likely rely on his funding as he attempts to unseat Heller, Flake, and other Republicans on his list, Politico reports. You can read more about Bannon's plot and how it worries senior Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at Politico.