Kelly spoke to far-right gadfly Glenn Beck this past week after she was part of the team moderating the fourth and final Republican primary debate of 2023; a handful have just been scheduled to occur over January and February.
In her conversation with Beck, Kelly explained that she thought there would be violence in the streets were Mr Trump to be convicted and imprisoned before the 2024 election occurs next November.
But she also predicted that Mr Trump would be convicted in “multiple” jurisdictions, presumably for crimes related to his effort to subvert the 2020 election results as well as his absconding with classified materials to Mar-a-Lago at the end of his presidency.
“I'm starting to worry,” Kelly told Beck. “He definitely will get convicted, in multiple jurisdictions. But [former chief assistant US attorney] Andy McCarthy, who is very smart on these things, was pointing out that Judge [Tanya] Chutkan in DC, in the federal case, on [January 6], you know she hates him. In DC, the jury is going to hate them.”
The former FBI director “thinks there's ... some pretty good odds [that Chutkan] will not release him from jail, pending appeal after his lengthy conviction,” Kelly continued.
Beck then responded that there would be “chaos in the streets” were that to occur.
“America will burn if they put Trump in jail before this election. It will burn. I don't want it,” Kelly concurred. “We will need the National Guard city to city. You know, MAGA is going to rise up. And there will be a lot of sympathizers who understand it, and won't try to stop it.”
Kelly, who previously hosted a show on Fox News, left the network after her own highly-public confrontation with Donald Trump during (and after) a debate in 2016. The former president accused Kelly of being unfair to him, and made a sexist remark about her performance during a subsequent CNN interview.
Mr Trump is widely reported to now be connected to a wide-ranging network of conservative groups preparing what is seen by his critics as an agenda of unabashed revenge and political targeting for his hypothetical next term in office. Chiefly, the so-called “Project 2025” group is reported to be working on plans for policy changes at the Justice Department that would allow direct control of the agency by the president, ending a long-maintained wall of independence around America’s highest law enforcement agency.
The former president and his allies continue to publicly insist that he will not weaponise the Justice Department against his political enemies should Mr Trump return to power. But Mr Trump continues to raise fears of an authoritarian bent with calls for the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Mark Milley, to be executed and vows to appoint a special prosecutor instructed specifically to prosecute President Joe Biden and his family.