Responding to Trump tweets, Texas governor insists 'voting fraud is real'
Greg Abbott speaking at FreePac, hosted by FreedomWorks, in Phoenix, Arizona (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Following President Donald Trump's latest unsubstantiated claim that voter fraud cost him the popular vote, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said "voter fraud is real" in an interview on Fox News Wednesday morning.

"It must be stopped," Abbott said. "We need every tool to go after it.”

Asked Wednesday how prevalent voter fraud is in Texas, Abbott noted he “prosecuted about 50 voter fraud cases” as attorney general.

“But that said, I want to make clear I have no information or data about what happened in the most recent presidential election,” Abbott added.

Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he would call for a "major investigation" into voter fraud and that depending on the results, he might "strengthen up voting procedures." While meeting with congressional leaders earlier this week, Trump said without evidence that millions of illegal votes cost him the election.

Several news organizations called the claim an outright lie.

This isn't the first time Trump has made that unsupported claim. In November, Trump said on Twitter that "in addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

A former Texas official may be the original source for that claim. Gregg Phillips, a former Health and Human Services Commission executive, said on Twitter that he has discovered that more than 3 million people who voted were not citizens.

Phillips claim was later highlighted in InfoWars, a conspiracy theory website run by Alex Jones, a Trump ally.

Abbott said Trump is not the first president to probe voter fraud, pointing to a task force under President Barack Obama that sought to root out corruption in South Texas.