Calls to end Wisconsin Republicans’ scrutiny of 2020 election escalate amid blunders by investigators

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos asked Michael Gableman, a former state Supreme Court justice, to conduct the review – even though Gableman had publicly endorsed conspiracy theories of defeat of Donald Trump by President Joe Biden last year before being cast for the role.

In recent weeks, Gableman’s office has issued, and then canceled, subpoenas for the testimony of officials from Wisconsin’s five largest counties. Some of his subpoenas contained errors or sought information already made public.

Gableman faced backlash after comparing newspaper coverage of his investigation to Nazi propaganda. And he has been criticized for consulting Shiva Ayyadurai, a conspiracy theorist whose recent work on the partisan Arizona election review has been discredited.

Gableman also admitted he doesn’t know how elections work.

“Most people, including me, don’t have a comprehensive understanding or even no understanding of how elections work,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an interview earlier this month.

The Wisconsin investigation is part of a nationwide Republican effort to question the legitimacy of Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 election. Partisan reviews in a series of states have found no evidence of widespread fraud . But they served the political purpose of fueling suspicion about the integrity of the elections among Trump supporters.

For example, in Arizona, a company called Cyber ​​Ninjas, hired by Republicans in the state Senate to review the 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, said its hand count was virtually identical to that of the county, but also used questionable methods to cast doubt on the legitimacy of tens of thousands of ballots.

Explanations from Maricopa County officials, non-partisan election experts, and media fact-checkers almost immediately undermine any Cyber ​​Ninjas’ claims – highlighting the reality that the problem in Arizona was not coming from the way the election had taken place, but rather the lack of understanding of electoral laws and processes by Cyber ​​Ninjas and its contractors. Still, the company’s initial report provided fuel that Trump used to further his lies about the 2020 election.

“This is not a serious investigation”

In a nine-page letter to Gableman last week, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul’s office said Gableman’s subpoenas regarding state election records and more violated state law. and exceeded the limits of the investigation.

“The summons document requests include overly broad, vague, unduly cumbersome and redundant inquiries or inquiries or inquiries already completed,” the letter said.

Kaul, a Democrat, said in a statement that “no one should take the results of this investigation as credible” and said Vos, the speaker of the Republican State Assembly, should end it.

“This is not a serious investigation. Even if an investigation like this was warranted – and it clearly is not – this one suffers from glaring flaws which destroy any credibility its results might have,” he said. Kaul said.

Vos, for his part, issued a statement criticizing Kaul for criticizing Gableman.

“In order to restore confidence in our electoral system, Judge Gableman will continue his investigation,” Vos said.

His office did not respond to CNN’s request to comment on Kaul’s remarks, Gableman’s admission that he had “no understanding of how elections work” or Gableman’s work with Ayyadurai, the theorist of the a plot whose work in the investigations of other states has been fraught with errors and omissions. . CNN was unable to reach Gableman for comment.

In a video posted earlier this month to a YouTube channel started by the office of his special advocate, Gableman said “the onus is on the clerks to prove they conducted the 2020 election legally.”

He said, without providing specific details, that there is “convincing evidence” that the laws have not been followed, and that there is “also evidence that the ambiguities in the law have been interpreted extensively. “.

“We are not demanding that they deny that the election may have been conducted illegally. Rather, we are asking them to be accountable to the people of Wisconsin, to those people who have serious questions about the election and how which they took place, “he added. Gableman said in the video.

Gableman’s comments completely overlooked the fact that many who doubt the integrity of the 2020 election are doing so because Trump and his allies have spent months repeating lies about widespread fraud, even if they don’t. have provided no evidence to support these false claims.

In another YouTube video late last week, Gableman said his office offered mayors and local officials a “reprieve on the timing of their talks” with the special council office.

“In cases where public officials are not interested in working with us, we have no alternative but to exercise the power given to us by the state assembly to compel them to testify and produce the documents requested by that office, ”Gableman said.

Gableman has repeatedly used his YouTube videos to criticize Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who called the investigation a “mess” and said “if I were a clerk I would be a lawyer.”

“There shouldn’t be any lawyers between the people of Wisconsin and their elected and appointed government officials,” Gableman said.

Gableman said in an interview broadcast on WISN on Sunday that his investigation will also include an investigation into the “reliability of voting machines,” saying “there have been a number of theories” about the machines.

“I don’t have sufficient evidence to make up my mind one way or the other,” he said when asked if he believed these theories, without offering any evidence to support the claim. questioned the accuracy of the state’s voting machines.

Gableman also came under criticism this month after referring in a radio interview to Nazi propaganda chief Adolf Hitler in criticizing the state’s largest newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for his coverage of his investigation.

“What they’re doing at the Journal would make Joseph Goebbels blush,” Gableman said on “The Dan O’Donnell Show”.

Democratic State Representative Lisa Subeck, who is Jewish, said Gableman’s comments “clearly disqualify him“and that he should resign from the probe or be withdrawn by Vos.

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