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Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Gore will not comply with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee compelling him to testify about the Trump administration's addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Driving the news: Earlier this month, the committee issued 3 subpoenas related to its investigation of the citizenship question, a controversy that has now been taken up by the Supreme Court. The Justice Department wrote in a letter that the committee's refusal to allow a DOJ lawyer to be present in the same room during Gore's deposition is unacceptable, and that Gore will not appear until that request is accommodated.

The backdrop: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross touched off a firestorm last year when he announced the addition of the citizenship question. He told lawmakers that he acted solely at the request of the Justice Department to enhance the Voting Rights Act, but critics say the question is intended to influence the allocation of congressional seats across the country.

  • Per Axios' Sam Baker, the Census Bureau itself told Ross that adding the question would make the census less accurate, because some non-citizens will lie or refuse to fill out the survey. It would probably end up undercounting about 6.5 million people, the bureau said.
  • One of the subpoenas that the House Oversight Committee authorized was for Ross to turn over internal communications about the citizenship question. Judging from the administration's clear refusal to cooperate with any oversight by Democrats — including investigations that do not relate to the Mueller probe — it's unlikely that any Trump officials will comply.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said in a statement:

"This is a massive, unprecedented, and growing pattern of obstruction. ... The subpoena that was issued to Mr. Gore was adopted by our Committee on a bipartisan basis.  Neither the White House nor the Department of Justice has asserted any privilege that would relieve Mr. Gore of his legal duty to comply. Both President Trump and Attorney General Barr are now openly ordering federal employees to ignore congressional subpoenas and simply not show up—without any assertion of a valid legal privilege.  These employees and their personal attorneys should think very carefully about their own legal interests rather than being swept up in the obstruction schemes of the Trump Administration."

Go deeper: Trump's "run out the clock" legal strategy

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot"

The government's top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci said Friday that he "absolutely" will accept the offer from President-elect Joe Biden to serve as his chief medical adviser, telling NBC's "Today" that he said yes "right on the spot."

Why it matters: President Trump had a contentious relationship with Fauci, who has been forced during the pandemic to correct many of the president's false claims about the coronavirus. Biden, meanwhile, has emphasized the importance of "listening to the scientists" throughout his campaign and transition.