Trump going to prison would “deter the next aspiring dictator”: Kirschner

Sending former President Donald Trump to prison would “deter the next aspiring dictator,” according to legal analyst Glenn Kirschner.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday set a March 4, 2024, start date for Trump’s federal trial in Washington, D.C., on felony charges related to attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election outcome and the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that followed. Trump, currently campaigning as the leading GOP candidate in the 2024 presidential election, had requested that the trial start in April 2026 instead.

Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, said during an MSNBC appearance on Monday that the former president should head straight to federal prison if he is convicted in the D.C. case. Kirschner made the remark after The Bulwark co-founder Charlie Sykes pointed out that Trump could arrive at the 2024 Republican National Convention in Milwaukee as both “a convicted felon” and the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

Trump Going to Jail Would ‘Deter NextDictator'
Then-President Donald Trump waves while departing from the White House for Camp David May 1, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, said during an MSNBC appearance on Monday that the former president should head straight to federal prison if he is convicted in the D.C. case.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

“When Donald Trump is a convicted felon, the only place he should show up is at the Federal Bureau of Prisons to serve a sentence of confinement,” Kirschner said. “That’s the only way we, the system, will deter the next aspiring dictator from doing what Donald Trump has done.”

Reached for comment, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung re-shared with Newsweek a statement that accuses Kirschner of being “a notorious trafficker of wild conspiracy theories and dubious legal analysis” who “has been shunned by the legal community at large.”

The March 4 trial date in D.C. was blasted by the Trump campaign, who said in a statement earlier in the day that it “deprives [former] President Trump of his Constitutional right to a fair trial.” A 2026 trial would have, in theory, opened the door to Trump pardoning himself if he were to be convicted and go on to win the 2024 election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the D.C. case and denies any wrongdoing in each of the four criminal indictments that he has faced so far this year. The ex-president frequently claims to be the victim of political “persecution” and “election interference.” He also claims that his supporters are the true targets of his criminal proceedings.

2024 presidential election polling continues to show Trump maintaining a wide lead over his Republican primary rivals, with most surveys showing the former president running neck and neck with President Joe Biden in a hypothetical general election rematch.

Kirschner suggested that support for Trump would eventually plummet due to the public changing their opinions on the former president if he is convicted of a crime, saying that “the rule of law” would “kick in” and “overrule the court of public opinion.”

A poll released on Friday by Navigator Research found that 62 percent of registered voters already believe that Trump “has committed a crime,” although just 28 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement. Only 42 percent of voters thought that Trump would be convicted of any crime.

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