Former House Speaker Paul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won fairly in 2020 as Wisconsin GOP leaders pursue $680,000 election audit

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Former House Speaker Paul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won fairly in 2020 as Wisconsin GOP leaders pursue $680,000 election audit
Then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., listens to President Donald Trump speak during a meeting with Republican lawmakers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
  • Ryan said Trump lost the 2020 election as Wisconsin GOP leaders investigated the results.
  • Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is pursuing an open-ended investigation and audit of the race.
  • "He exhausted his cases. He exhausted the court challenges," Ryan said of Trump's election loss.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated this week that it was "clear" former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election as GOP leaders in Wisconsin, a state he represented in Congress for 20 years, continued to pursue an investigation and audit of the results.

"It was not rigged. It was not stolen. Donald Trump lost the election. Joe Biden won the election. It's really clear," Ryan told Wisconsin's ABC affiliate WISN 12 in an interview that was published on Tuesday.

Nearly 10 months after the presidential race, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is still overseeing an audit and investigation of the 2020 election led by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who has traveled both to the site of a GOP-backed election review in Arizona and to the election conspiracist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's cybersymposium.

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The election investigation could cost Wisconsin taxpayers $680,000.

"He exhausted his cases. He exhausted the court challenges. None of them went his way, so he legitimately lost," Ryan further told WISN 12 of Trump's election loss. "Is there mischief, organized shenanigans in elections? Sure. Is there fraud? Yes. Was it organized to the extent that it would have swung the Electoral College and the presidential election? Absolutely not."

The effort to audit Wisconsin's election results won't be a full recount and ballot examination like the one the Arizona state Senate green-lighted for the firm Cyber Ninjas in Maricopa County, according to Vos. Arizona's audit has been widely criticized as having sloppy practices and partisanship.

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Vos has described his initiative as a "forensic" and "cyberforensic" audit, which aren't types of audits defined or carried out by professional election officials. Investigators "can refer things to a prosecutor," he said, according to the Kenosha News. "It doesn't mean a hand recount or that computers will be used," he added.

"If we need to have subpoenas, I have no problem at all issuing those. If Justice Gableman asks for them, I will issue them without hesitation." Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of the investigation.

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The Journal Sentinel reported that while the full scope of the Wisconsin audit was unclear, it was likely to include examinations of absentee voting in nursing homes and compliance with the state's voter-ID requirement for absentee ballots, with the goal of informing future legislation.

Biden won Wisconsin by over 20,000 votes in 2020, a victory affirmed by two machine recounts the Trump campaign requested - and paid $3 million for - in the heavily Democratic Dane and Milwaukee counties.

Last week, Vos traveled on a private plane with Trump to one of the former president's rallies in Alabama, saying on Twitter that he "provided him details about our robust efforts to restore full integrity & trust in elections."

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"He wants to make sure at the end of the day that what happened in Wisconsin was honest and above board," Vos told the Journal Sentinel.

Ryan, for his part, sees folly in state and local GOP officials continuing to cater to Trump's whims and baseless election claims.

"I think it's a big mistake for the Republican Party to be a party about a person or personality," Ryan told WISN 12. "And I think we'll just keep losing if we wrap ourselves around one person. We have not lost this much this fast in a long, long time."

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