Legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said on Friday that former President Donald Trump is “one step” closer to an indictment from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Kirschner began his 30-year legal career as a prosecutor for the US Army before moving on to a position in the US Attorney Office Homicide Section in Washington, DC Today, he is known as a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, and an outspoken critic of Trump who provides frequent updates on the numerous legal battles facing him.
Kirschner appeared in a YouTube video on Friday posted by left-wing political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen to discuss the latest move against Trump by the DOJ. According to Politico, the DOJ rejected the former president’s claim on Thursday that he should have sweeping immunity against various civil suits being brought against him in response to his involvement with the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. The DOJ’s decision was viewed by many as a major blow to Trump in his attempt to stay off legal doom.
In his interview with Cohen, Kirschner talked about this development and expressed hope that Trump was “one step” closer to an indictment from the DOJ.
“You cannot claim absolute immunity because you weren’t acting as a president,” Kirschner said. “You were acting outside what we will allow and tolerate from a president when you were inciting and inspiring imminent private violence. You will not enjoy any privileges if that’s the way you behave.”
Kirschner continued, prompted by Cohen’s question about whether the decision portends legal action from the DOJ: “There is little doubt in my mind that this takes the Department of Justice one step further down the road of indicting Donald Trump. The reason I say that is because in this opinion they say, he can be sued because he wasn’t acting the way a president is permitted to act. And they also say that his conduct does not enjoy First Amendment protection, because it really is reasonably likely to, and in fact sort of designed to, incite imminent violence. Those are important opinions…”
Most of the potential criminal indictments against Trump would not bar him from seeking political office if they are led to convictions, according to political experts. Only a conviction related to inciting an insurrection would prevent him from running for president again, as he is currently doing. Opponents, nonetheless, argue that accountability for Trump’s numerous alleged misdeeds is essential for maintaining the health of American democracy.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed special counsel Jack Smith to oversee the DOJ’s various investigations into Trump’s potential wrongdoing. This includes a probe into his alleged mishandling of classified documents that he took after leaving office and his involvement in the Capitol riot. The latter case saw Trump referred to the DOJ for four criminal charges following an extensive investigation by the House select committee on January 6.
Trump and his team have long denied any wrongdoing by the former president in any of the legal cases brought against him. A representative for the former president also previously dismissed Kirschner’s observations about Trump’s legal future and questioned his credibility in a statement to Newsweek.
“Glenn is a notorious trafficker of wild conspiracy theories and dubious legal analysis,” the spokesperson said. “I would expect nothing more from a clout-chasing MSNBC contributor who has been shunned by the legal community at large.”
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s team for comment.