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Harvard University's campus. Photo: Brooks Kraft/Corbis via Getty Images

The Trump administration plans to tell schools not to consider race as a factor for admissions standards, discontinuing a policy that the Obama administration adopted as an attempt to increase diversity at colleges and high schools, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The reversal of affirmative action coincides with several similar announcements by the Justice Department, which has been reevaluating past guidelines. The new policy will revert back to what was in place during George W. Bush's administration, when officials told schools to ensure "race-neutral methods" in the college acceptance process, or elementary and secondary school selections.

The details
  • The DOJ revoked seven policy guidances from the Education Department's civil rights division on Tuesday.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions said policies, like Obama-era affirmative action, could push the DOJ to go beyond the law, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court, Justice Department spokesman Devin M. O’Malley, told NYT.
  • A senior Justice Department official said "rolling back guidance is not the same thing as a change of law, so that the decision to rescind technically would not have a legal effect on how the government defends or challenges affirmative-action related issues."
By the numbers

The overall perception of affirmative action has continued to be positive — 71% of Americans, surveyed in October 2017, said they believe it's a good thing, according to a Pew Research Center study.

  • Along party lines, roughly 50% of Republicans support affirmative action, compared to 84% of Democrats.
What's next

The Justice Department is investigating if Harvard University is illegally discriminating against Asian-American students' admission processes.

  • In June, documents filed by the Students for Fair Admissions, a group representing Asian-American students that is suing Harvard for bias, accused the university of consistently rating Asian students lower on traits like likability, courage, and kindness during the application process.
  • The other side: Harvard said the school "does not discriminate against applicants from any group, including Asian-Americans, whose rate of admission has grown 29 percent over the last decade."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”