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Judge Luttig from his home in Vail on Trump and Jan. 6: ‘Worst crime … a president could commit’

February 4, 2023, 11:55 am
Michael Luttig testifying before Congress last summer (photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images).

VAIL, Colo. — Impeachment politics and the possibility of presidential prosecution surprisingly keep cropping up here in Vail, where new Jan. 6 revelations are about as unexpected as an affordable place to live, a free parking space, untrammeled powder on a Saturday or a decent burger for under $20.

The latest Vail stunner comes courtesy of the Washington Post, which on Tuesday reported on a late-night phone call retired federal judge Michael Luttig received at his home here on Jan. 4, 2021, just two days before the insurrection by supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol aimed at stopping Vice President Mike Pence from certifying Joe Biden as president.

Luttig, an arch-conservative former federal judge, fielded the call from an attorney for the former vice president, who had also spent the holidays skiing in Vail that year. The gist of it was that President Donald Trump was listening to attorney John Eastman – a former clerk for Luttig and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — who felt Pence could legally block electoral votes.

“… Luttig was eating dinner with his wife at their home in Vail when the phone rang. It was Richard Cullen, a longtime friend and former U.S. attorney in Virginia who was then serving as an outside attorney for Pence,” the Post reports. “Cullen was desperate for intel. An attorney he’d never heard of but who had represented Trump in lawsuits challenging the presidential election results was going around saying Pence had the authority to block certification of the 2020 election results. Cullen learned that it was a man named John Eastman and that in a previous life he had clerked for Luttig. Luttig, puzzled, told Cullen that Eastman is ‘brilliant.’”

Now facing a federal investigation, Eastman is notorious in Colorado as the author of the “coup memo” and an alleged “insurrectionist attorney” who hatched his plot while on the payroll of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Benson Center of Conservative Thought. He, too, is very familiar with the Vail Valley, having spoken at a conservative conference in Beaver Creek just a few months prior to the Jan. 6 insurrection, where he also helped fire up the Trump mob.

According to Tuesday’s reporting in the Post, Luttig told Pence’s attorney to advise the vice president he could not do what Eastman was calling for – a stance that gave Pence legal justification and political cover in conservative circles. But Cullen called Luttig back on Jan. 5 and urged him to make a public statement, which resulted in this Twitter thread. Luttig went on to testify last summer before the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The Vail connection apparently runs much deeper than Luttig simply owning a house here.

The Post reports that “as a young, lowly staffer in the Ford White House, [Luttig] worked on a book meant to bolster the president’s ill-fated 1976 campaign.” The late President Gerald R. Ford, of course, famously put Vail on the map when he started visiting as a Michigan congressman and then made it his western White House when he became both vice president and president during a tumultuous eight-month period in 1973 and ’74.

“What Nixon did was just an ordinary crime,” Luttig said of President Richard Nixon’s 1974 resignation in the wake of the Watergate break-in. “What Trump has done is quite arguably the worst crime against the United States that a president could commit.”

Pence was in Vail on a family ski vacation in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, and there’s been some astounding reporting on what was happening at that time, including this quote from Trump advisor and now convicted congressional scofflaw Steven Bannon: “‘You’ve got to return to Washington and make a dramatic return today,’” Bannon told [Trump], according to reporting in Woodward and Robert Costa’s book, ‘Peril. ‘You’ve got to call Pence off the f—ing ski slopes and get him back here today. This is a crisis. We’re going to bury Biden on January 6th. We are going to kill … the Biden presidency in the crib.’”

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

One Response to Judge Luttig from his home in Vail on Trump and Jan. 6: ‘Worst crime … a president could commit’

  1. Gregory Clay Schoonover Reply

    September 3, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    The United States Constitution is very clear on the requirements to attain the office of the Presidency. It has certain Self sustaining requirements that stand alone, based in and by the U.S. Constitution itself. Examples are, 1. Must be U.S. citizen. 2. Must be 35 years old. 3. Must swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and all of it’s parts, against all enemies, both foreign, and domestic! Being self sustaining means that no special laws, lawsuits, further acts of congress, or political debate is needed! The Nation as a whole, every loyal American, is Constitutionally EXPECTED to adhere to these requirements, as they place people on ballots, vote, with that same expectation that their vote entrusts that those elected leaders will be expected to protect the Constitution, the Nation, it’s people, and our Constitutional Democracy!
    So what happens when an “entrusted” official, Senator, Representitive, Elector, Vice President, President, or Supreme Court Justice, decides to betray that oath, by any act… for example, by lying about election fraud, trying to use fake electors to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Constitutionally casted ballots, or asking a Vice president to betray his Oath with an illegal attempt to stop the Constitutionally Instructed Electorial certification of the vote by the Congress of the United States by a 3 pronged Attack on our very Democracy… the 3rd prong being a violent storming and destruction of our Nations Capitol, all while watching Television cheering on the mayhem… or maybe by a statement on recorded video that those same convicted seditionists should be pardoned, and the U.S. Constitution should be dismantled. It might be betrayed by members of congress who show verbally, or on social media, or by public support of these actions by visiting jailhouses, or by asking for, or promising the pardoning these attackers of our Capitol if elected, or even Promises to pardon Donald Trump of all endicted crimes, even before the trials finish if elected. It might be using Congress to interfere with the Constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair and impartial trial based on evidence based indictmemts while being presumed innocent! Or,creating insurrection songs as background for campaign rallies etc. Those of us remaining stunned, want to know how the Constitution is designed to protect “We the People”!! Itself, and our Democracy as a whole! The U.S. Civil War gave us the same delima! How do you keep an Oath Betrayer, from doing further harm to Our Constitution, Our Nation, It’s Democracy, Our Freedom, and to “We the People as a whole?
    ANSWER… (drumroll please) … The INSTANT Disability Clause of Article 14, Section 3, Sentence One. If you read nothing else, pay attention to the very First 10 words, bearing in mind that this emposed “Disability”, is also self sustaining!
    “No person shall BE a Senator, or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil, or military, under the United States, as a member of any State Legislature, or as an Executive or Judicial Officer of any State, after taken a previous oath to support the Constitution of the United States, (if they) shall have engaged in insurrection, or rebellion of the same, or given aid and comfort to the enemies thereof.”
    In short, Those Representatives and Senators who have openly supported the seditionists, insurrectionists, and continually betrayed the Oaths they took to support the Constitution are INSTANTLY forbidden by the Constiturion to hold their seats of office… as is anyone else so identified! More importantly, just as surely as age, and place of birth can remove a name from the ballot, NONE of these oath breakers can ever hold office again, As it is CONSTITUTIONALLY forbidden! This includes former President Trump, who has ben video taped many times stating that he will pardon the Seditionists/insurrectionists, dismantle the Constitution, and that he Expected Former V.P. Pence to disenfranchise the vote, and stop not only the Constitution at work, but our democracy as a whole! Not to mention bringing together a mob, through his free speech lies, for the sole purpose of disrupting the peaceful transfer of power demanded by the Constitution, and faithfully executed for over 200 years, until Donald Trump broke his oath!
    ANY of these MAGA OATH BREAKERS who want to ever serve again must wait until this Constitutional Disability is removed! Those rights are restored by 2 things. 1. A not guilty verdict in the slow, but thorough judicial system. 2. THEN, and only then, can they ask for removal of this Const
    tutionally Imposed Disability, under Article 14, Section 3, Sentence 2… which states… “But, Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, Remove such disability.”
    So…Right now Constitutional Law Professors of every political leaning and or parties, are writing briefs, like the one in the “Atlantic”, co written by Professor Baume, which opines that Donald J Trump is BARRED fron having his name on the ballot. Other celebrated Constitutional Law Scholars like Prof. Michael J.LUDDIG, who advised Vice President Pense that the fake Elector scheme, that then President Trump was insisting on, was a betrayal of his Constitutional Oath, had no legal standing, and was downright unconstitutional! These same Professors, and defenders of our Constitution are beginning to appear on podcasts, and the main media when allowed!


    BUT… they need for AMERICAN HEROES to emerge! You know… the Americans who support The Constitution, Democracy, Freedom, The right to free speech, coupled with a deep rooted belief in God, or t²he right to be athiest, the right to be presumed inocent, while also believing that no one is above the law! EVIDENCE is the rule of law… not Lies. The innocent stand before justice unafraid. American Heroes who honor ALL VETERANS… not just the ones who wern’t captured! Americans who respect women! Yeah… those typical, everyday, down home grassroot, common sense Americans who take what little they have, pay their bills, consider their truthful word their bond… well you know, the ones who defeated a tyrant, healed wounds after a civil war, saved the world twice, remembered Pearl Harbor, and 911… Those guys. TIME TO STEP UP!!! Support our Constitutional Law Professors to use the Constitution to instantly remove Marjorie Taylor Green, Bobert, Gaetz, Jordan, all those who refused to Impeach Trump, and supported Jan 6th from any party… and do not forget Joe Manschen… something about 1 Billion from the Saudi Arabians… Act now… use uour voices, sign petitions… Democracy stolen and lost by belief in a lie supported by free speech… is, in the end… still Democracy stolen and lost!
    Prayerfully submitted by An American Veteran, Oath Preserver, Lifelong Republican who’s original party has been bullied into near oblivion by a Napolionic Bully, who has almost succeeded in using the Nationalistic Nazi playbook, to Nationalize away our Constitution… who is more than just fed up! FOR THE RECORD…
    AMERICA HAS ALWAYS BEEN GREAT, AND STILL IS!!! What is missing is Constitutionalism… and good old common sense!
    And the much needed voice… of “WE THE PEOPLE”!!

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