Michael Gableman | Up Front screen shot
Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman sat down for his first television interview on his super-sized role in the election investigation since Speaker Robin Vos upgraded him to “special counsel” giving him the power to hire and have free rein in determining what the “Arizona-style audit” he will oversee actually does.
However, in response to repeated questions by the tenacious Up Front host Adrienne Pedersen, he never answered what the investigation will be doing on a daily basis or what evidence there is that it is needed.
During the course of the interview he claimed it would be nonpartisan and said he is special counsel on behalf of the “entire Legislature,” despite the fact that only Republicans have challenged the validity of the election. He stated that he said he had spoken with “everyone,” elected and not, although in response to a later question he admitted he had not talked to a single Democrat. Adding to the partisan nature of his investigation, his hiring was announced at the Republican State Convention after former president Donald Trump criticized legislative Republicans for not doing enough to expose “fraud.”
He also had to justify and parse his statements from when he was speaking at a Stop the Steal pro-Trump rally where he mentioned a “stolen election.”
Gableman was frequently criticized while on the Supreme Court for failing to recuse himself from cases involving his big campaign donors and ruling on their behalf. But in this investigation, he said he will shun the powerful on behalf of the “common, average” person. “I’ve been an elected official for over 20 years. I’m familiar with how the process works. The rich and powerful do not need any more assurance that their voices will be heard.”
Gableman said he accepted his current role for the public, and not for the $44,000 his first contract paid him for several months of work, a timeline and sum which now will be longer and larger. He also said that as a special prosecutor he has been given “sole discretion” over the scope of the investigation and whom to hire.
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“I said, if the Legislature gives me the tools I need, there will be no question about who’s running this investigation. I’m not running for anything. I don’t need money, I’m not in it for money. I’ve dedicated my career — I’ve dedicated every ounce of my professional life — to the service of the people of this state. I believe that. … Others don’t have it. But I couldn’t motivate myself to work for anything really, other than what I view as the public good. This is one more step.”
Despite the fact that the investigation will be funded by taxpayers, he said it would be conducted in secret until he unveils the report when it is done: “While the investigation is live, it’s going to be extremely confidential.”
He also slammed the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Mark Zuckerberg’s election grants, the use of absentee voting and he expressed distrust for the process of in-person voting too: “Before I began this process 28 days ago, I frankly had no idea what happened to my paper ballot once I put it in the machine at my polling place on Election Day. And I remember thinking on Election Day, as I have in many election days past, that I’m putting in my paper ballot. I’m putting my trust in the system. And really, I’m left with, sort of, the rather thin comfort of hoping for the best.”
“While the investigation is live, it’s going to be extremely confidential.”
– Michael Gableman
Gableman revealed he had a personal beef with the workers at Central Count in Milwaukee, where he said he spent 24 hours last November, and within the first hour noticed that “the people running that place were not following the rules.” His concern was that as an observer he felt he was being kept too far away from the workers.
“I merely asked, I said, ‘Gee, I think the law says that I’m allowed to be about six feet away.’ And in response, one of the intermediary supervisors, bigger than I am, younger, stronger than I am … he charges me. And he starts telling me that I’m causing a disruption, and that he’s going to call the police. And he winds up and I say, ‘I’m merely asking a question.’” Eventually someone in charge asked Gableman to step outside to cool down for a bit. He added, “Yes, that did raise doubts in my mind about whether all the rules and all the laws were being followed.”
While he would not answer a number of questions, he was able to identify his mission: “My duty is to answer the question, ‘Is the American experiment over?’ If our votes don’t count, the American experiment is concluded and it has failed.”
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