Vos on firing Gableman: 'He was looking for something else besides the truth'

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said his relationship with Michael Gableman turned sour after the former Supreme Court Justice suggested lawmakers take a look at decertifying the 2020 election, a move Vos and legal experts say is not possible.

"At that point it became clear he was looking for something else besides the truth," Vos told reporters days after firing Gableman on Friday.

"I think the original effort was worthwhile and I wish we could have stuck to that because it would have been able to prove whether or not there were serious problems with the election beyond what we already found."

Vos hired Gableman 14 months ago with a taxpayer-funded salary to investigate the 2020 election, but he produced no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

The Rochester Republican put an end to the probe after Gableman and former President Donald Trump endorsed his primary opponent Adam Steen, who Vos narrowly defeated by 260 votes.

Vos said he doesn't regret hiring Gableman, but said things took a turn after the former Justice released his interim report in March, telling members on the Assembly Elections Committee the Legislature "ought to take a very hard look" at decertification. Public records later revealed Gableman wrote a private memo to Vos two weeks after releasing his report, noting such a move would be a “practical impossibility.”

While the investigation and Gableman's Office of Special Counsel have come to a close, taxpayers are still on the hook to pay mounting legal fees related to the review, and some worry additional lawsuits could emerge.

There are six pending lawsuits related to former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman’s probe, a majority of those cases address how Gableman and his office handled open record requests filed by liberal watchdog group American Oversight.

The lawsuits continue to rack up legal fees, a tab that taxpayers will ultimately have to pay, which so far has surpassed $1.1 million.

Vos also added he hasn't decided yet on the fate of election denier Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) and her position as chair of the Assembly Campaign and Elections Committee.

Brandtjen has consistently criticized Vos for not doing enough to overturn Joe Biden's win in Wisconsin.

"Anything is possible," Vos said when asked if he's considering removing her from the elections committee.

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