Trump expected to announce executive action to try to get citizenship question on 2020 Census, according to administration official


President Trump on Thursday is expected to announce an executive action in a renewed bid to place a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 Census, according to two administration officials.

It remains unclear exactly what Trump will announce, including whether it will be an executive order or some other action that falls short of that move. The two administration officials who discussed his plans requested anonymity to speak ahead of an official announcement.

In a morning tweet, Trump said he would hold a news conference related to the census at the White House following a planned summit Thursday afternoon on social media.

“At its conclusion, we will all go to the beautiful Rose Garden for a News Conference on the Census and Citizenship,” he wrote.

The White House later said his announcement will take place at 5 p.m.

The Supreme Court has called the administration’s rationale for the question “contrived” and said the government could not go forward without a solid justification.

Speaking to reporters at the White House last week, Trump said the question was needed “for many reasons.”

He raised the possibility that some kind of addendum could be printed separately after further litigation of the issue.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “We could start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision. So we’re working on a lot of things, including an executive order.”

The issue has produced a series of headaches for the Justice Department, as Trump has insisted on moving forward despite earlier statements by administration officials that census forms would be printed without a citizenship question.

Earlier this week, the department sought to replace the team of lawyers assigned to the effort, after at least some career attorneys on the case grew frustrated with the Trump administration’s sudden shift in position on whether it could keep fighting.

Two federal judges have since denied that bid.

That fight, which once seemed at its end, intensified Wednesday when a group of conservative lawmakers wrote a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr urging him to support President Trump in adding the citizenship question to the census by executive order.

The letter controversially states that assessing the citizenship question is “germane to carrying out our duty to apportion representatives.”

The Trump administration has denied that adding the question is meant to boost its political fortunes through redistricting, but many Democrats charge that the question is meant to scare away Latinos from participating in the census, resulting in an undercount of that population.

Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

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