Anatomy of a tweet: The behind the scenes story of how retired federal decide Michael Luttig used Twitter to attempt to cease an riot


However on the evening of January 4, whereas at his dwelling in Colorado, Luttig bought a name from an previous good friend, Richard Cullen, Pence’s private lawyer. Cullen had a easy request:

“Inform me about John Eastman,” Cullen mentioned.

“I immediately understood the importance of the second,” Luttig mentioned in recounting the decision to CNN. “I understood that this was a sign second in historical past. And that I used to be to play some function, if for no different purpose than by advantage of the truth that my former legislation clerk was advising the president and vice chairman that we don’t have to simply accept the electoral faculty vote.”

Luttig advised Cullen that Eastman was mistaken. “I mentioned, ‘Properly, you understand, there isn’t any query that the Vice President has no alternative as a constitutional matter.'”

“Properly, I figured that that is what you thought,” Cullen mentioned.

The 2 finally hung up however early the following morning, January 5, Cullen known as again. This time, there was an urgency to his voice. Pence was supposed to fulfill with Trump, and Cullen needed to ensure the Vice President was armed together with his personal authorized argument. And who higher to overrule Eastman than his former boss.

“I do not actually bear in mind his precise phrases. However the gist of it was, ‘Is there something you are able to do to assist and assist the vice chairman?'” Luttig recounted Cullen asking.

Luttig was prepared to assist however wasn’t certain what he might do.

“I simply drew a clean,” Luttig mentioned. “First I did not even know what he meant. However importantly, he did not know both.”

The query of what may very well be executed ignited a collection of frantic calls forwards and backwards between the 2 previous associates that morning. Cullen advised Luttig he’d name again in 5 or ten minutes. When he did, as Luttig was ending his cup of espresso, Cullen requested if he’d considered something.

“And I mentioned, ‘No, I actually have not,'” Luttig recalled.

Cullen advised him time was vital and that he’d name again in one other 5 minutes. After a number of extra forwards and backwards calls, Luttig lastly advised Cullen that he’d simply arrange a Twitter account a number of weeks earlier. There was only one drawback, Luttig advised Cullen: “I do not know the way to tweet. And I do not know the way to tweet a thread, I feel is what you name it.”

Cullen advised Luttig a tweet could be good, however Luttig was nonetheless hesitant. Not solely was he uncertain of the way to truly do it, he needed to be assured that Pence was on board.

5 minutes later, Cullen known as again once more and mentioned Pence could be nice with no matter Luttig tweeted.

“I relented and mentioned, ‘Okay Richard, I do not like this, doing one thing that’s at a nationwide degree, on behalf of the Vice President of america, when he does not even know what I’ll say,'” Luttig recounted. “And Richard says, ‘I perceive, however we have to do that. Let’s get it executed.'”

Luttig set about typing out what he needed to say. Not solely did he wish to get the phrases precisely proper, he additionally had to determine the way to create a Twitter thread.

“All my expertise is, in these moments is fairly hilarious looking back, as a result of I did not know the way to do any of this.”

Wanting again, Luttig laughed at how lengthy it took him to craft the collection of tweets that morning.

“And so I am sitting there, Richard’s sort of going loopy, saying… ‘Have you ever executed this but? Have you ever executed this but?’

And I mentioned, ‘I am attempting.'”

A self-professed Twitter novice, Luttig had despatched his first tweet just some weeks earlier and had enlisted his son to assist him work out the way to use the platform.

“After that first tweet, I had gotten my son who’s a tech man. And I mentioned, ‘Pay attention, simply inform me how to do that.’ You know the way youngsters are lately. So he wasn’t going to hassle losing his time instructing me how to do that, so he simply despatched me Twitter’s official directions or no matter you name it, on how do a tweet thread.”

Luttig had saved the directions on the house display of his laptop and that morning fastidiously adopted the steps on the way to craft a thread. Even with the clock ticking, he took his time to ensure he bought it good.

Luttig first typed out his assertion in a Phrase doc, then counted out the variety of characters and lower and pasted them into seven exact threads.

“I am a perfectionist. So I went over that, perhaps 5 or 10 occasions on Twitter, earlier than I pushed the button,” Luttig recalled. “Getting it precisely the best way I needed it, ensuring there have been no typos. After which, lastly, push the button.

At exactly 9:53 a.m. EST on January 5, Luttig tweeted out his statement that the Structure gave Pence no powers to reject electors and overturn the election as Trump was demanding.
The subsequent day, January 6, Pence cited Luttig’s tweets in his letter explaining why he would certify the election. Pence wrote, “Extra not too long ago, as the previous US Courtroom of Appeals Choose J. Michael Luttig noticed, ‘[t]he solely duty and energy of the Vice President below the Structure is to faithfully depend the Electoral Faculty votes as they’ve been forged,’ including ‘[t]he Structure doesn’t empower the Vice President to change in any method the votes which were forged, both by rejecting sure votes or in any other case.'”

Luttig had no concept that Pence had seen his tweet, or was going to cite him, till Pence launched his assertion.

The subsequent day, on January 7, Luttig bought one other telephone name. This time it was from Pence himself. Based on a supply accustomed to the decision, Pence thanked Luttig for the tweets and the function he’d performed. It was the primary time the 2 males had ever spoken. To at the present time, they’ve by no means met in particular person.

“[Pence] knew what he was doing,” mentioned Luttig. “I used to be the one particular person in America who might come excessive of all people involved and provides the vice chairman the assist that he needed and wanted.”

Greater than a yr later, Luttig stays energetic on Twitter and confirmed to CNN that he nonetheless retains the Twitter thread directions on the house display of his laptop.

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