Jul 12, 2019

Trump's cave on Census stuns allies

President Trump departs his press conference on the Census with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Top figures in the conservative legal community are stunned and depressed by President Trump's cave in his fight for a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The state of play: Sources say Leonard Leo and other Federalist Society stalwarts were shocked and floored by how weak the decision was. "What was the dance ... all about if this was going to be the end result?" a conservative leader asked.

  • "A total waste of everyone’s time. ... It’s certainly going to give people pause the next time one has to decide how far to stick one’s neck out."
  • One GOP strategist called it a "punch in the gut."

A week after insisting that he was "absolutely moving forward," Trump said in the Rose Garden that he instead was directing federal agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases. (AP)

  • Trump said: "There used to be a time when you could proudly declare, 'I am a citizen of the United States.'"
  • Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, cheered.

A senior administration official summed up the internal frustration at the opposition to the fight from key Justice Department lawyers:

  • "What's sad is the President has been right on this since Day 1, but he’s being told it's too hard and too long a road legally. Washington lawyers too often bow to the courts and treat them like a higher branch, when this is ripe for a fight, with American people in full support."

Go deeper: 2020 Census could be worst undercount of black and Latinx people since 1990

Go deeper

Protests for George Floyd continue for 10th day

Thousands of protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4 in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All four former Minneapolis police officers have been charged for George Floyd’s death and are in custody, including Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The latest: Crowds gathered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Thursday evening and in Atlanta, Georgia, despite the rain. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined demonstrators on Thursday. Demonstrators in Washington, D.C. dispersed following a thunderstorm and rain warning for the region.

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

2 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.