Watch CBSN Live

Report: Civil rights leaders call on attorney general to drop voter fraud probe

Civil rights leaders asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday to urge President Trump not to move forward with an investigation into his unverified claim that several million people voted illegally in the election, Politico reports.

The president had been planning for a blue-ribbon panel to launch a probe into the claim.

“I asked him to counsel the president against the creation of such a task force and a commission because that commission will be seen to intimidate our communities,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said, according to Politico.

“We don’t need an investigation into something that doesn’t exist,” she added, the report said. “We should not be crediting the fantasies of this president at the cost of African Americans and Latinos feeling secure that they’re not being intimidated from voting and participating in the process.”

In January, Mr. Trump falsely claimed that three to five million people voted illegally in November. In February, he also reportedly told a group of senators that incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte would have won in New Hampshire if it weren’t for the “thousands” of people who were “brought in on buses” from Massachusetts to vote illegally in their neighboring state.

In an interview with Fox News before the Super Bowl, the president said he had chosen Vice President Mike Pence to lead a commission to investgate the unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.

A commissioner on the Federal Election Commission later called on Mr. Trump to provide evidence that backs up his reported claim that a widespread voter fraud scheme was committed in New Hampshire.

After the meeting Tuesday, Rev. Al Sharpton also said that the leaders at the meeting asked that Sessions speak out publicly against rising anti-Semitism and hate crimes.

“We need his voice to speak out when we see what’s going on in the Jewish cemeteries, with the bomb threats, with the targeting of Muslims, the targeting of people because of sexual orientation. He needs to be the voice against hate and he needs to prosecute those who are engaged in this activity,” Sharpton said, according to Politico.

View CBS News In