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

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 19,282,972 — Total deaths: 718,851 — Total recoveries — 11,671,491Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 4,937,441 — Total deaths: 161,248 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Warren and Clinton to speak on same night of Democratic convention

(Photos: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton both are slated to speak on the Wednesday of the Democratic convention — Aug. 19 — four sources familiar with the planning told Axios.

Why it matters: That's the same night Joe Biden's running mate (to be revealed next week) will address the nation. Clinton and Warren represent two of the most influential wise-women of Democratic politics with the potential to turn out millions of establishment and progressive voters in November.

Trump considering order on pre-existing condition protections, which already exist

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday he will pursue an executive order requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, something that is already law.

Why it matters: The Affordable Care Act already requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration is currently arguing in a case before the Supreme Court to strike down that very law — including its pre-existing condition protections.