Dem senator: FBI should probe hate crime increase

Dem senator: FBI should probe hate crime increase
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Sen. Cory Booker is asking the Obama administration to investigate a recent increase in hate crimes.

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The New Jersey Democrat sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch Thursday asking them to "investigate the recent wave of press-reported hate crimes occurring throughout our nation."

"These acts of violence and terror cannot be tolerated and they deserve the utmost scrutiny by our nation’s federal law enforcement officials," Booker wrote in the letter. "The DOJ and FBI have a critical role in combating discrimination and the horrible violence that all too often accompanies it."

The FBI's 2015 Hate Crimes Statistics report, released on Monday, found that hate crimes increased by more than 6 percent last year overall.

Hate crimes specifically targeting Muslims increased by 67 percent, according to the report.

Booker also pointed to a Southern Poverty Law Center report that found more than 400 incidents of harassment since Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE's White House win last week.

"I am deeply troubled by the latest findings in the FBI’s 2015 Hate Crime Statistics report that show a spike in hate crimes against Muslim Americans, and recent news stories that have detailed numerous hateful acts since Election Day," he added.

Booker is asking the DOJ and the FBI to hand over their plans "to combat the rising number of hate crimes occurring nationwide" by Dec. 14.

Booker's letter comes as Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls on Democrats to plow forward on immigration Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt MORE (D-Nev.) took to the Senate floor on Thursday morning and called on Trump to take a tougher stance against the reported targeting of minorities.

"There are ... sickening acts of hate, prejudice and simple meanness," Reid said. "There's only one person who can bring a stop to that quickly, and that's the president-elect. Our nation is looking at Donald Trump." 

Trump, during a "60 Minutes" interview that aired last weekend, called the reports of harassment "terrible" and said he would "bring this country together."

"I am so saddened to hear that," he said. "And I say 'stop it.' If it helps, I will say this, and I will say it right to the cameras: Stop it."