Just a few days after defeating a Trump-backed primary challenger, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) fired the partisan election “investigator” he himself had hired more than a year ago, in what turned out to be a futile attempt to appease Trump and others who lied about the supposed theft of the 2020 election, the Associated Press has reported.
The investigator, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, was openly partisan from the start, endorsing a Republican for governor, hiring a man who had sued to overturn Trump’s loss as an investigator, and even suggesting to Wisconsin legislators that they take a “hard look” at decertifying the election — a legal impossibility that Vos resisted.
He’s also not been a very good investigator: Gableman claimed, in one instance, that a large number of nursing homes in the state had suspiciously shown 100% voter participation in 2020 — a statistic that was quickly shown to be simply false. A state judge later slammed Gableman because at the start of his probe, she said, taxpayers were paying for him “to sit in the New Berlin library to learn about election law because he knows nothing about election law.”
Nonetheless, Vos stuck by his hired investigator’s side for months, saying in March, as he extended Gableman’s contract yet again, that the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice was doing an “outstanding job.”
For his part, Gableman eventually began to antagonize Vos, applying public pressure on the Assembly speaker to continue paying for his investigation even as it was beset with paralyzing public records lawsuits. (Both Vos and Gableman have been separately held in contempt of court throughout the course of those suits.)
Donald Trump added his own voice to the mix, threatening to endorse Vos’ primary challenger if Vos stood in the way of Gableman’s probe.
Vos, at that point, did what Trump and Gableman wanted, signing another contract with Gableman that didn’t even have an end date.
And yet, after Vos resisted yet another call from Trump to decertify the 2020 election results, Trump and Gableman turned against their legislative benefactor, endorsing his no-name opponent, Adam Steen, an election lie believer who lost the primary race to Vos by a very slim margin on Tuesday.
At that point, all bets were off: After early election results indicated his primary win, Vos attacked Trump, without naming him, and called Gableman “an embarrassment to the state.”
State Sen. Kathy Bernier (R), chair of the Wisconsin Senate’s election committee and a lonely GOP voice against Trump’s election hysteria, told the AP Gableman’s firing was “a good decision.”
“It would have been a better decision six months ago,” Bernier said, adding later that she had “zero respect, for Michael Gableman.”
And yet, even in firing Gableman, Vos couldn’t help but attempt to erode public trust in the 2020 election results.
In a statement published by the AP, he said Gableman’s investigatory reports “clearly showed concerns and problems with the 2020 election.”