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J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge and conservative legal expert who advised former Vice President Mike Pence during his time in office, forcefully dismantled the theory that Pence could overturn the results of the 2020 election during his June 16 testimony June 16 before the House Jan. 6 committee.
WATCH: Jan. 6 committee hearings – Day 3
Luttig explained to the committee that in his opinion, the theory that the vice president had any power in overturning the result of the election during Congress’ official count of electoral votes was not only wrong, but also dangerous.
“The declaration of Donald Trump as the next president would have plunged America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis in America,” Luttig told the committee.
He described in thorough detail the constitutional basis for the vice president counting the electoral votes on Jan. 6, and said that in his view, the text is “pristine clear.”
“There was no basis in the constitution or laws of the United States at all for the theory espoused by Mr. Eastman. At all. None,” Luttig said.
He also said that on Jan. 6, the vice president had “little substantive constitutional authority, if any at all” over Congress’ proceedings.
According to CNN, Pence’s personal lawyer, Richard Cullen, contacted Luttig asking him to provide a legal argument to rebut Eastman, who had once been Luttig’s clerk. Luttig published a tweet thread the day before the Jan. 6 insurrection on whether Pence as vice president had the ability to change the way Electoral College votes were counted. Luttig concluded that Pence did not.
“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.
According to testimony by Luttig and others, Eastman argued that earlier vice presidents had taken action similar to what Eastman was proposing.
WATCH: Former Judge Michael Luttig says there’s still ‘clear, present danger’ during Jan. 6 hearing
But Luttig rebuffed the idea that there has been any historical precedent for the vice president rejecting electoral votes, calling that theory the “root of what I have called the blueprint to overturn the 2020 election.”
“I would have laid my body across the road before I would have let the vice president overturn the 2020 election on the basis of that historical precedent,” he said.
In his final statement, Luttig said he believes Trump and his supporters are a “clear and present danger to American democracy.”
He said he’s worried that Trump or his “anointed successor” would try to overturn the results of the 2024 election should they not win.
“I do not speak these words lightly. I would have never spoken these words ever in my life, except that’s what the former president and his allies are telling us,” he said.
For more on the key players in the Jan. 6 committee hearings, click here.
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