J. Michael Luttig: Judge Testifies at Jan. 6 Hearing

j michael luttig

Getty J. Michael Luttig, former U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the Fourth Circuit, testifies before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 16, 2022 in Washington, DC.

J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge who was adviser to Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, 2021, testified at the Jan. 6 House select committee hearing, saying former President Donald Trump “instigated” a war on democracy “so that he could cling to power.”

“It is breathtaking that these arguments even were conceived, let alone entertained by the President of the United States at that perilous moment in history,” Luttig wrote in his statement. “Had the Vice President of the United States obeyed the President of the United States, America would immediately have been plunged into what would have been tantamount to a revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis.”

The committee reconvened for its third day of hearings at 1 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, June 16, 2022, after Wednesday’s hearings were postponed. The testimony for that hearing day was moved to the following week.

Here’s what you need to know:

Luttig Was Among the First to Say Pence Could Not Overturn the Election Jan. 6. 2021

Thursday’s hearing was centered around allegations that Trump pressured Pence to overturn the 2020 election results during the certification Jan. 6. Luttig was serving as an adviser to Pence. Trump allies, including John Eastman, issued a memo claiming Pence had the power to block the certification of the election of President Joe Biden.

Luttig was one of those who cleared up confusion among some of Trump’s supporters, saying Pence did not have the power to change the election results.

“The only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to faithfully count the electoral college votes as they have been cast,” Luttig wrote in the tweet on the morning of January 5, 2021.

Luttig also voiced support for Pence during his testimony before the select committee.

“There were many cowards on the battlefield on January 6,” Luttig wrote. “The Vice President was not among them.”

He testified that overturning the election was “the center point” of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“America needs to know,” Luttig said.

‘I Would Have Laid My Body Across the Road Before I Would Have Let a Vice President Overturn the Election,’ Luttig Said

Luttig had strong words for the House select committee, saying that he would never have let Pence overturn the election.

“I would have laid my body across the road before I would have let a Vice President overturn an election,” Luttig testified.

Twitter users latched onto the biting statement.

“Luttig says he would’ve ‘laid my body across the road before I would’ve let the VP overturn the 2020 election,’ Scott Dworkin wrote on Twitter. “I felt that.”

Historian Heather Cox Richardson commented on the significance of Luttig’s testimony due to his reputation among conservatives.

“Luttig says the fake electors had no legal authority,” she wrote on Twitter. “Luttig is incredibly highly regarded in conservative circles. So this is very significant testimony.”

“Luttig says Eastman told Trump that there was both legal as well as historical precedent for the VP to overturn the election,” she added. “Says they all got ‘wrapped around the axle,’ by the historical evidence claim of Eastman.”

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