'He likes to be begged': DC insider tells Morning Joe what Trump likes best about pardon power
Mike Allen (MSNBC)

President Donald Trump gets a "kick" out of issuing pardons, according to a well-connected Washington reporter, because only he can do it -- and he likes to watch people beg.


Mike Allen, co-founder and executive editor of Axios and former chief political reporter for Politico, appeared Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss his new reporting on Trump's favorite presidential powers.

"The president loves to remind people that he has the pardon power -- he can use it, will use it -- and again, he likes to be begged for it."

Allen said Trump also enjoys his power to revoke security clearance for his enemies, as he did to former CIA director John Brennan, and he expects the president to take similar unilateral actions.

"We see here with this Brennan decision a microcosm of a lot of the ways the president loves to operate, and that we can expect to see even more this fall as we head towards midterms and re-election in 2020," Allen said. "He loves instant gratification. You would see that with a pardon."

Allen said the action against Brennan was not intended just to punish or silence Brennan, a strong critic of the president, but was another way to rally his base supporters.

"The president feeds off of his enemies, that's why he loves to call attention to them," Allen said. "He loves to create these foils that he then uses to fuel the base."

Taking away Brennan's access to classified material draws attention to the former intelligence official, so Trump can then drag him down, Allen said.

"He loves the idea of having someone that we're going to cover that we respect, as the face of the deep state, and someone that he can go out this fall and talk about," Allen said. "Why we saw him tweeting last night again, the president talking about John Brennan. He wants to call attention to him, make him part of his cast of characters."