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Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

President Trump, for the first time, has publicly acknowledged that he is considering issuing an executive order to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census.

Driving the news: Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House today, Trump said he was thinking "very seriously" about issuing an executive order — but it was among "four or five" options he was weighing to force a citizenship question onto the Census. 

  • Government lawyers wrote in a federal court filing in Maryland this afternoon, per WaPo, that "the Justice and Commerce departments had been 'instructed to examine whether there is a path forward' for the question and that if one was found they would file a motion in the Supreme Court to try to get the question on the survey to be sent to every U.S. household."
  • Per WaPo: "The government has begun printing the Census forms without the question, and that process will continue, administration officials said."

The big picture: The Supreme Court ruled last week that the Trump administration's rationale for including the citizenship question was "contrived."

  • Critics of the question argue that its inclusion in the 2020 Census would deter immigrants in the country illegally from participating in the Census, meaning they'd be undercounted.
  • Congressional districts are decided based on total population numbers, regardless of citizenship, and some top Republican officials believe including the question could benefit the party in future elections. 

Between the lines: Former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig, who has deep ties to top officials in the Trump administration, told me:

  • "I believe the president of the United States will sign an executive order grounded in his full Article II constitutional powers, directing that the citizenship question be added to the 2020 Census — pending the final decision on the 2020 Census by the Supreme Court of the United States."
  • "I believe," Luttig added, "that there is a way to draft an executive order, constitutionally, that would be entirely consistent with and faithful to the Supreme Court’s decision last week in New York v. Department of Commerce."
  • Luttig is known to be close to with Attorney General Bill Barr, and Solicitor General Noel Francisco clerked for Luttig.

Go deeper: Luttig drove this executive order conversation — both inside the White House and in influential circles close to the president — with an interview he conducted over email with radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

4 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

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