This is a statement released today by the Honorable J. Michael Luttig, retired judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and informal advisor to Mike Pence. Judge Luttig will provide his testimony to the January 6th Committee today at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
We can expect that his testimony today will expand on his views and knowledge, expressed in this 12-page document, in which he does not mince any words in his excoriation and repudiation of the entire republican party, not just of select individuals.
This may go down as the testimony that shakes people into waking up and understanding the danger we went through during Jan 6 and the perils that lie ahead.
Luttig is a veteran and highly respected judge, a “giant” in the conservative legal community during his 15 years on the bench. His name often came up in discussions of possible Supreme Court appointees when Bush was president.
Luttig advised Pence and Pence's team on how to handle the congressional certification process, against trump’s wishes and orders.
First, today’s schedule -
Here is the full statement - s3.documentcloud.org/…
Here are some excerpts from the statement (emphasis mine) -
A stake was driven through the heart of American democracy on January 6, 2021, and our democracy today is on a knife’s edge.
America was at war on that fateful day, but not against a foreign power. She was at war against herself. We Americans were at war with each other -- over our democracy.
January 6 was but the next, foreseeable battle in a war that had been raging in America for years, though that day was the most consequential battle of that war even to date.
These senseless wars are of our own making, and they are now being waged throughout the land, in our city centers and town squares, in our streets and in our schools, where we work and where we play, in our houses of worship -- even within our own families. These wars were conceived and instigated from our Nation’s Capital by our own political leaders collectively and they have been cynically prosecuted by them to fever pitch, now to the point that they have recklessly put America herself at stake.
The war on democracy instigated by the former president and his political party allies on January 6 was the natural and foreseeable culmination of the war for America. It was the final fateful day for the execution of a well-developed plan by the former president to overturn the 2020 presidential election at any cost, so that he could cling to power that the American People had decided to confer upon his successor, the next president of the United States instead. Knowing full well that he had lost the 2020 presidential election, the former president and his allies and supporters falsely claimed and proclaimed to the nation that he had won the election, and then he and they set about to overturn the election that he and they knew the former president had lost.
Over a year and a half later, in continued defiance of our democracy, both the former president and his political party allies still maintain that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him, despite all evidence -- all evidence now --that that is simply false. All the while, this false and reckless insistence that the former president won the 2020 presidential election has laid waste to Americans’ confidence in their national elections. More alarming still is that the former president pledges that his reelection will not be “stolen” from him next time around, and his Republican Party allies and supporters obeisantly pledge the same.
The former president’s accountability under the law for the riot on the United States Capitol on January 6 is incidental to his responsibility and accountability for his attempt to steal the 2020 presidential election from the American People and thereby steal America’s democracy from America herself.
This said, willful ignorance of law and fact is neither excuse nor defense in law. Willful ignorance, thus, is neither political nor legal excuse or defense available to the former President of the United States, his allies, and his supporters.
On January 6, 2021, revolutionaries, not patriots, assaulted America and American democracy. The walls of all three of our institutions of democracy were scaled and breached on that appalling day. And almost two years thence, one of America’s two political parties cannot even agree whether that day was good or bad, right or wrong. Worse, it cannot agree over whether January 6 was needed, or not. Needed or not.
Pause for a moment and reflect on that. The former president and his party cannot decide whether the revolt at the United States Capitol to disrupt and prevent the constitutional counting of the votes for the presidency was needed, and therefore whether another revolt might be needed at a future date to accomplish that which the previous revolt failed to accomplish.
The former president’s party cynically and embarrassingly rationalizes January 6 as having been something between hallowed, legitimate public discourse and a visitors tour of the Capitol that got out of hand. January 6, of course, was neither, and the former president and his party know that. It was not legitimate public discourse by any definition. Nor was it a civics tour of the Capitol Building -- though that day proved to be an eye-opening civics lesson for all Americans.
Thus, for the rest of us Americans, the time has come for us to decide whether we allow this war over our democracy to be prosecuted to its catastrophic end or whether we ourselves demand the immediate suspension of this war and insist on peace instead.
We must make this decision because our political leaders are unwilling and unable, even as they recklessly prosecute this war in our name. We Americans begin to make this consequential decision this week, when Congress, rightly if painfully, takes us back to that day in January we want so much to forget but mustn’t, and reminds us of what was at stake that day and still, in what is this most unholy of wars.
America’s democracy was almost stolen from us on January 6.
Our democracy has never been tested like it was on that day and it will never be tested again as it was then if we learn the lessons of that fateful day. On the other hand, if we fail to learn the lessons that are there to be learned, or worse, deny even that there are lessons there to be learned, we will consign ourselves to another January 6 in the not-too-distant future, and another after that, and another after that. While for some, that is their wish, that cannot be our wish for America.
We cannot hobble along much longer, politically paralyzed and hopelessly divided, directionless and undecided as to which revival it will be -- if any at all.
Where do we begin? This is the easier question. Who has the patriotic and political courage to go first? This is the harder question.
In order to end these wars that are draining the lifeblood from our country, a critical mass of our two parties’ political leaders is needed, to whom the remainder would be willing to listen, at least without immediate partisan recrimination. The logic for reconciliation of these wars being waged in America today dictates that this number needs to include a critical mass of leaders from the former president’s political party and that those leaders need to go first. All of these leaders then need to summon first the moral courage and then the political courage, the strength, and the patriotic will to extend their hands, and ask of the others -- and of all Americans -- “Can we talk? America needs us.”
Then we need to get back to work, and quickly. We need to get back to the solemn business of preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the United States and the United States of America.
The hour is late. God is watching us.
Yesterday we saw the fast and furious set of new revelations about the corruption of the republican party and the the extent to which republicans in high places facilitated the Jan 6 insurrection.
This statement summarizes all of that and much more. Perhaps, it will inspire some republican leaders to set their party on a different course. Maybe not, time will tell.
It is also a call to all of us to defeat these enemies of Democracy.
So, let’s do our part in educating the electorate about Jan 6 and the coterie of criminals the GOP has become. Let’s make sure that we implicate all the leaders of the republican party as co-conspirators in this insurrection.
Let’s keep writing and talking about the Jan 6 insurrection and the hearings day after day.
The November elections are coming and we have to win the House and Senate. Let’s inspire people to Get Out and Vote.