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Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu, J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Steve Bannon has dispatched Breitbart reporters to Alabama with a mission to discredit Roy Moore's accusers, just as Mitch McConnell has been stepping up his efforts to force Moore from the race. The Bannon vs. McConnell feud has been heating up ever since Bannon left the White House, and he said last week that he hopes to help force McConnell out as Majority Leader within a next year.

Be smart: Alabama is likely the first of many Bannon v. McConnell proxy wars. Bannon plans to use Breitbart's platform and his alliance with billionaire donor Robert Mercer to challenge Republican incumbents in 2018. This isn't about right vs. left for Bannon, it's about dismantling the "political establishment."

  • In August, shortly after leaving the White House, Bannon told The Economist, "I'm going to light him up," in reference to McConnell.
  • Bannon has since started a Civil War within the GOP centered on 2018 elections by backing opposition candidates to Republican incumbents. Bannon requires potential candidates to promise public opposition to McConnell. It's become a litmus test for his support. (More on that.)
  • Early last month, a former McConnell aide called Bannon a white supremacist, which Bannon backers used to fuel antagonism toward the Majority Leader.
  • The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with McConnell, announced plans to fight back against Bannon's 2018 efforts, attacking him personally and spending millions of dollars on traditional GOP candidates.
  • Earlier this month, Mercer — who has been a significant funder for Bannon and Breitbart's war against McConnell — released a statement saying that he does not always agree with him.
  • Bannon told the New York Times last week, "I have an objective that Mitch McConnell will not be majority leader, and I believe will be done before this time next year."
  • Breitbart reporters Matt Boyle and Aaron Klein went to Alabama to discredit sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore, and Axios' Jonathan Swan wrote yesterday, "I expect more counter-attacks will play out in Breitbart News and other outlets over the coming days."
  • Today, McConnell called for Moore to step down, saying, "I believe the women."
  • Recent Breitbart headlines: "Mitch McConnell Folds Under Populist Pressure, Extends Senate Workweek" "Mitch McConnell Leads Establishment Republicans in Effort to Push Roy Moore Out of Alabama Race" "Swamp Triggered as Steve Bannon Eyes 2018 Coalition to Challenge Establishment Lawmakers" "Steve Bannon Slams McConnell's 'Outrageous' Lack of Support for Trump Agenda" "Quin Hillyer: Mitch McConnell Helped Create Mess in Alabama"

Go deeper

The E-commerce shopping spree

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Retailers have gotten really good at selling stuff online. So much so, investors want them to separate from the business units that do just that.

Why it matters: Spinning off these crown jewels may jeopardize both the physical and e-commerce sides of the companies in the long run by breaking the benefits of hybrid operations, analysts say.

2 hours ago - World

U.S. envoy to visit Sudan as "most dangerous" crisis intensifies

The sit-in in Khartoum. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty

U.S. envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman will visit Khartoum this week amid what Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has called the “worst and most dangerous" crisis of Sudan’s transition to democracy, two sources with direct knowledge tell Axios.

Driving the news: Roughly 2,000-3,000 people had joined a sit-in in Khartoum as of this afternoon, per Reuters, after protesters massed over the weekend to call on the military to bring down the government. The protests came just four weeks after a failed military coup.

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

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