Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner on Friday warned of “danger dead ahead” after the latest legal motion from Donald Trump, calling it a preview of his “dictatorial plans.”

Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner on Friday warned of “danger dead ahead” after the latest legal motion from Donald Trump, calling it a preview of his “dictatorial plans.”

The former president is currently in the midst of four criminal cases across various jurisdictions, adding up to a total of 91 criminal charges. Among the cases, the most prominent is considered to be the federal case brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and special counsel Jack Smith, accusing Trump of attempting to carry out a scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump, the GOP frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination, has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges in the case, with his legal team recently filing a motion seeking to have the case thrown out altogether, claiming he has complete immunity from the charges due to the fact he was president at the time. Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case, rejected the motion on Thursday, explaining that the former president does not have the “divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens.”

Now, Trump and his legal team have filed an appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to overturn Chutkan’s decision. In the filing, Trump’s attorneys claimed that this appeal request has put a “mandatory and automatic” pause on all other matters involved in the case, and further made the assertion that Trump will act as if the pause has been granted, even though Chutkan has not yet ruled to grant one, “absent further order of the Court.”

The assertion has been met with widespread criticism in the legal world and even outright mockery in some corners. For his part, Kirschner, a staunch Trump critic and legal analyst, stressed the unprecedented nature of the move and how dangerous it could be moving forward, in the latest video posted to his YouTube page.

“Friends, in my 30 years as a prosecutor, I never once had a defendant or a defense attorney say, ‘Judge, Judge, I don’t care how you might rule on this motion, I’m telling you, I’ve made a decision…I don’t need you to rule,'” Kirschner said. “The only thing I can think of to call that is a defendant in criminal litigation trying to act as a dictator, or perhaps as a second judge who gets to override the judge who’s assigned to oversee the case.”

He later added: “This is dangerous. Danger dead ahead. This is Donald Trump testing the waters, you know, sort of trying to test out his ability to ignore Judge Chutkan’s rulings, to ignore the courts altogether. Because the courts are the greatest danger to Donald Trump’s power.

In a Saturday statement to Newsweek, Dave Aronberg, the state attorney for Palm Beach, Florida, and legal expert, suggested that this move from Trump was likely to fail, unless it helps him delay the start of the trial, currently set for March 2024.

“Trump has every right to appeal Judge Chutkan’s ruling denying him immunity from prosecution—which he will lose—but he is also taking the unusual step of asking for a stay, or pause, of the entire election interference case pending his appeal,” Aronberg explained. “The law is not on Trump’s side on the immunity issue or his request for a stay, but Trump could win by losing if this leads to delays in this trial.”

He continued: “The election interference trial in DC is the most likely of all of Trump’s four criminal cases to go to trial before the 2024 election. That’s because Jack Smith built his case for speed by limiting the indictment to only four counts and excluding unindicted co-defendants from the case. Plus, Judge Chutkan is no-nonsense and seems determined to move this case along quickly. The trial is set to begin on March 4, 2024, and I believe it will occur on or near that date—unless the appellate courts do the unexpected and give in to Trump’s obvious delay tactics.”

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“The reason university politics are so vicious is because stakes are so small,” was how recently deceased American statesman Henry Kissinger formulated “Sayre’s Law.” Kissinger was wise enough to leave academia for better things and stay out when his time in government came to a close. In another arena of vituperative politics, the stakes could not have been smaller in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Wednesday evening, when four of the five Republican candidates who still qualify to participate in party-sponsored debates gathered for a fourth round of pointless bickering. The honor of broadcasting this tempest in an ever-shrinking teapot fell to something called NewsNation, an obscure cable television network that only attracts about 65,000 viewers in regular primetime hours. Yet again, the shadow of the one Republican candidate who was not there, former president and runaway GOP frontrunner Donald J. Trump, loomed over the dismal proceedings.

Just as he has in the last four debates, Trump won this one too. His intraparty opponents are now notoriously inept, but even they might have realized that his stock with the Republican rank-and-file rose effortlessly after each of the three previous debates, in which he also did not participate, and that there was utterly no reason to assume that anything would be different this time. In virtually all polls taken since November 15, Trump has led the Republican field by about 50 points over his nearest rival nationally, while handily defeating each of his remaining opponents in both early primary states and, notably, in all of their home states.

Important Republican donors who had remained aloof or leaned toward Florida governor Ron DeSantis have come back into the Trump fold or signaled that they would support him over incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden. Biden polls as tied with or slightly behind Trump in a hypothetical one-on-one rematch, disfavored against Trump when third-party candidates are included, and routed in the decisive electoral college vote. Even the bitterest Never-Trumpers have for the most part conceded that he will be the Republican nominee. Last weekend, prominent neoconservative Robert Kagan penned a depressing 7,500-word essay in the Washington Post reconciling himself to a Trumpian future and speculating that it may well mean the end of democracy as we know it.™

What was left for DeSantis and his three rivals to fight about? Earlier in the debate season, several of the stronger candidates seemed more interested in auditioning for the vice-presidential slot on the Republican ticket or for cabinet posts in a second Trump administration. It is hard to imagine that now of anyone, save entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy who has tried to savage his three rivals on stage while heaping praise on the former president. In the fourth debate, he continued to mimic Trump’s distinctive sartorial style, sporting a blue suit, white shirt, and red tie. Trump has signaled that he would select a woman, however, so Ramaswamy may have to content himself with something farther down the totem pole or, if his numbers fall to insignificance, to the lucrative speaking, writing, business, and advisory circuits that await failed presidential candidates.

When pressed on Trump, DeSantis rather gently pointed out the age gap between himself, 45, and the former president, who is 77, but offered little substantive criticism. Former South Carolina governor and Trump’s sometime ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also stayed aloof, possibly remembering that a failed Democratic candidate of South Asian ancestry lost her race for her party’s nomination in 2020 and ended up vice president due to opportunistic circumstances. Only former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who polls by far the lowest of the four, kept his anti-Trump irons in the fire, criticizing not only the former president but also his three opponents for not sufficiently attacking him. Christie may have a second act down the road as a left-wing television analyst and will probably score one of those book deals offered by unwise publishers that pay likeminded politicians huge advances in exchange for embarrassingly low sales.

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Christie by now sounds like a broken record, and the sparse Republican opposition to Trump that remains has been urging Christie to drop out and throw his support behind Haley, who took attacks on her in stride, telling the three men opposing her “I love all the attention, fellas.” Their attention did, however, expose some of her weaknesses. Ramaswamy, who opposes further aid to Ukraine and supports a negotiated settlement to the war in that unfortunate country, chided Haley for not knowing the names of the disputed provinces in eastern Ukraine and—falsely—claimed that she nevertheless wants to send U.S. troops to those obscure places. Christie, who shares a broadly neoconservative foreign policy outlook and pledged to go to war with China to protect Taiwan, came to her defense, calling Ramaswamy an “obnoxious blowhard.” Ramaswamy hit back at Christie, telling him to drop out of the race and “enjoy a nice meal,” a swing at the former governor’s portly carriage. For all these theatrics, Haley still came for cr
iticism from DeSantis for having been too soft on China, and on ‘red meat’ conservative topics like gender ideology. Ramaswamy agreed with the Florida governor, at one point penning a notepad slur that said “Nikki = Corrupt” in case those at home had trouble following the cacophony of personal attacks.

There are still Republicans who are strong for Haley, who has cultivated an aura of competence and precision, though her record does not really bear out their confidence. She is despised in her home state, where she is regarded as a RINO (i.e. ‘Republican in Name Only’), and in some national circles, where her tenure at the United Nations was considered lightweight and inconsequential. Trump, her calls her “birdbrain” now, has plenty of other women in his orbit who could serve as vice president, including several from swing states that could make a much bigger difference in the 2024 election than Haley’s South Carolina, which Trump will carry regardless of his vice-presidential choice. Despite the residual enthusiasm, however, the plain fact is that the numbers do not add up for her now and will not add up for her, barring an exceptionally catastrophic event.

Incredibly, there is still a possibility of yet more Republican debates—or similar sideshows such as Fox News’s ‘governor’s debate’ between DeSantis and Governor Gavin Newsom of California. But for Republicans who care about winning—and not all Republicans do—there is only one man of the moment.

Don’t take it from Donald Trump himself.

I mean, really don’t, ever — that man dishes out so much fabulism that he ought to be in pictures.

So when he says, as he did last week, his goal in his quest to return to the White House is not to be a dictator, except, like, on Day One, so just a little bit of dictatoring, you can believe it precisely as much as you can believe anything else he says.

Which is not at all. So, no, it doesn’t matter what he says, much. That’s our preposterous lot in life. Which is the term of office he, like his friend in the Kremlin, would like to be dictator for.

Take it instead from a man who had the misfortune of having to serve under the ex, former Army General and Chair of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.

“We don’t take an oath to a king, or queen, or tyrant or dictator, and we don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator,” Milley said in his retirement speech about those who serve in the armed forces. He did not call out Trump by name during his remarks. He didn’t have to.

During his own service, he had to talk his foolish boss out of invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807 to force the Army to serve domestically by shutting down the civil-rights protests that Trump didn’t like in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

You remember Milley. He’s the soldier Trump essentially frog-marched out the White House door and over to a nearby church to protest the protests, with Trump holding a copy of the Bible he’s never read.

Then, after hearing that the general had felt it necessary to assure his Chinese counterpart that, no, rhetoric to the contrary, Trump wasn’t planning a nuclear attack on his nation, Trump wrote of Milley’s diplomacy: “an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH.”

So, he’d like to kill the chair of the joint chiefs. Sweet. That encouraged a Trumper Arizona congressman to agree, saying Milley ought to be hanged.

So our former top military leader now has to have a personal security detail in private life because a man who wants to be president wants him dead.

“If we’re willing to die” for the Constitution, Milley says of those who serve, “then we are willing to live for it too.”

Now, that’s the spirit, in these dispiriting times. Who knew it would be a general leading the charge to not give in to the wannabe dictator’s return?

Those dictatorial things Trump says he’d do on that one teeny-tiny day — so ridiculous to think he’d hold the line there. Build The Wall? Uh-huh. The border is too long not to have gaps in this trillion-dollar boondoggle. And “drill, drill, drill”? What a joke. The United States is drilling like monsters. We are right now drilling for oil at the highest rate in our history, at over 13 million barrels a day.

No, he wouldn’t stop at Day One. Replacing the “Deep State” with political appointees who would do one president’s bidding, as Trump wants to do, is the road to authoritarianism.

Key other aspects of Project 2025, the blueprint being drawn up for the wannabe if he were re-elected:

Ban the abortion pill, as part of the general effort to ban abortion federally, and then go after contraception itself by instead encouraging the old rhythm method of avoiding fertility. Sure, that worked so well for so many years. Ignore the 14th Amendment by saying the Census counts citizens, not “the whole number of persons in each state.” Ban pornography. Rescind regulations “prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, sex characteristics, etc.” Expand presidential powers by embracing the “unitary executive theory” of government: dictatorial.

Day One? Hell, that’s just a start!