Attorney for Mike Pence: Donald Trump 'irresponsibly instigated and prosecuted' January 6th insurrection

Attorney for Mike Pence: Donald Trump 'irresponsibly instigated and prosecuted' January 6th insurrection
Former President Donald Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona on August 31, 2016 (Gage Skidmore).

J. Michael Luttig, a retired U.S. federal appeals court judge, is the conservative attorney who counseled then-Vice President Mike Pence he could not legally obey Donald Trump’s demands to not certify the Electoral College count on January 6 and overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Luttig will testify during the House Select Committee’s third public hearing, which will be televised at 1 PM ET Thursday. He has released his opening statement, a 12-page warning that states point-blank that America is at war with itself, and says only the Republican Party can put a peaceful end to it.

He calls the January 6 insurrection “a war for America’s democracy, a war irresponsibly instigated and prosecuted by the former president, his political party allies, and his supporters.”

His statement is far from optimistic but is getting a great deal of positive attention, although not by everyone.

Former U.S. Attorney and current MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst Joyce Vance offers this balanced perspective.

“Judge Luttig will testify today as a fact witness. He is a fact witness because he was close to people in Trump world. I appreciate the role he played in giving Mike Pence some spine, but that does not mean his views on our culture going forward should be given any weight.”

Here’s how Luttig’s statement begins:

“A stake was driven through the heart of American democracy on January 6, 2021, and our democracy today is on a knife’s edge,” Judge Luttig will say.

“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. In fact, January 6 was a separate war unto itself, a war for America’s democracy, a war irresponsibly instigated and prosecuted by the former president, his political party allies, and his supporters. Both wars are raging to this day.”

“A peaceful end to these wars is desperately needed. The war for our democracy could lead to the peaceful end to the war for America’s cultural heart and soul. But if a peaceful end to the war for America’s democracy is not achievable, there is little chance for a peaceful end to that war. The settlement of this war over our democracy is necessary to the settlement of any war that will ever come to America, whether from her shores or to her shores. Though disinclined for the moment, as a political matter of fact only the party that instigated this war over our democracy can bring an end to that war.”

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