In an interview with POLITICO published this Friday, J. Michael Luttig, who's "operated behind the scenes at the top of the conservative legal world" for most of his life, talked about the days before the January 6 Capitol riot where he was "unknowingly enlisted" to help then-Vice President Mike Pence help reject then-President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.
One of Luttig's clerks while he was on the bench was John Eastman, who made headlines for the legal advice he offered to Trump in December 2020 and January 2021 where he falsely argued that Pence had the power to discard certified election results from contested states.
According to Luttig, despite Eastman's incorrect take on Pence's powers, he was a well-respected legal mind.
Luttig says he got a call on the evening of Jan. 4. from Pence's outside counsel, Richard Cullenand, who notified him that his former clerk was advising Trump on Pence's non-existent authority to reject electoral votes. Luttig gave his opinion that Pence has no such authority at all. The next day, Luttig got a call from the same person asking him to "help the Vice President."
"He said, 'Well, we don’t know what he needs.' And I said, 'What do you mean you don’t know what he needs? Then why are you calling me?' He said, 'Look, this is serious.' I said, 'OK, I understand. What do you want?' He’s talking with Marc Short and the vice president. And he says, 'We need to do something publicly, get your voice out to the country,'" Luttig told POLITICO.
Ultimately, Luttig was tasked with helping Pence present an argument as to why he could not cave to the pressure he was being put under by Trump to reject the 2020 election results. Pence cited Luttig's analysis on Jan. 6 in his famous letter explaining what his responsibilities and authorities were that day.
Read the full interview over at POLITICO.
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