Conservative retired federal judge calls GOP ‘spineless’ in scathing rebuke of Trump

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Conservative retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig has called the Republican Party base “spineless” for its continued support of former President Donald Trump and submitted that the GOP is destroying itself.

“If the indictment of Mr. Trump on Espionage Act charges – not to mention his now almost certain indictment for conspiring to obstruct Congress from certifying Mr. Biden as the president on Jan. 6 – fails to shake the Republican Party from its moribund political senses, then it is beyond saving itself. Nor ought it be saved,” Luttig said in a scathing New York Times op-ed published Sunday.

Luttig called Republican support of Trump, the current front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, “a colossal political miscalculation.”

“No assemblage of politicians except the Republicans would ever conceive of running for the American presidency by running against the Constitution and the rule of law. But that’s exactly what they’re planning,” Luttig wrote.

The op-ed marks an extraordinary repudiation of the GOP from a lifelong registered Republican.

Luttig, a former judge on the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, was a key witness at the January 6 committee hearings last year. He is also known for his conservative credentials and longstanding ties with the Supreme Court. In 1991, he was part of the team that prepared Clarence Thomas for his controversial Supreme Court nomination hearings, and he later became known as one of the top “feeder judges” on the court of appeals level, sending 45 of his 47 clerks to clerk for justices on the high court.

Ahead of the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, Luttig advised Vice President Mike Pence’s legal team against claims from Trump allies such as attorney John Eastman, who had argued that Pence had the power to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

“The stewards of the Republican Party have become so inured to their putative leader, they have managed to convince themselves that an indicted and perhaps even convicted Donald Trump is their party’s best hope for the future,” Luttig wrote in his op-ed.

He also name-checked prominent Republicans who have stopped short of throwing their political support to Trump but have attacked the Justice Department over its investigations into the former president.

“Both Governor DeSantis and Mr. Pence pledged – in a new Republican litmus test – that on their first day in office they would fire the director of the F.B.I., the Trump appointee Christopher Wray, obviously for his turpitude in investigating Mr. Trump,” Luttig wrote.

The retired judge ended the op-ed with a solemn plea, for his party to put the country first and “pull back from the brink – for the good of the party, as well as the nation.”

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