Three-hour presentation repeats ongoing talking points in favor of letting politicians change election results they don’t like.
Former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman on Tuesday took the wraps off his secretive investigation of the 2020 election, authorized by legislative Republicans, drawing largely predictable conclusions in a three-hour presentation that echoed unproven or disproved claims—the kind repeatedly heard from far-right politicians who are supporting efforts to suppress voters and potentially overrule election results.
Speaking to the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections, Gableman even went so far as to claim there is a legal basis for the Legislature to “take a very hard look at the option of decertification of the 2020” presidential election, a notion that has been repeatedly debunked.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) immediately responded on Twitter, speaking for Republicans who don’t agree with Gableman’s claim: “Still not legal under Wisconsin law. Beyond that, it would have no practical impact b/c there is no Constitutional way to remove a sitting president other than through impeachment or incapacity. Fools errand. Focus on the future.”
Gableman’s 136-page “interim report” is part of a nationwide GOP effort to reshape elections following President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. He joined supporters of former President Donald Trump who want the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission to be dismantled. He also wants crackdowns on the kinds of practices that made it less burdensome for nursing home residents to vote in the early weeks months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former conservative state Supreme Court justice who revealed Tuesday that he voted for Trump (“You bet I did,” he barked at one Democratic lawmaker) and whose probe has been dismissed as partisan by election experts and some Republicans, faced bipartisan criticism.
Gov. Tony Evers called Gableman’s work a “circus,” an “embarrassment for our state” and a “colossal waste of taxpayer dollars” that spreads misinformation about the election, attacks the integrity of election workers and emboldens people to harass and demean public servants. He urged Republicans to end the investigation.
Biden defeated Trump by just under 21,000 votes in Wisconsin, a victory that has withstood recounts, multiple state and federal lawsuits, an audit by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau and a report by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.
An Associated Press review of Wisconsin and other battleground states also found far too little fraud to have tipped the election for Trump.
Gableman’s report, paid for with $676,000 in taxpayer money, was first due in October but delayed after mayors and state and local election officials filed multiple lawsuits to block subpoenas issued to them. The officials said they were willing to meet in public to discuss the election, but not behind closed doors with Gableman.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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