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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended the administration's plans to include a controversial question about citizenship status in the 2020 census, saying it's "necessary for the Department of Justice to protect voters."

Why it matters: The move announced by Commerce Department late Monday sparked immediate outrage from Democrats, civil rights groups and liberal state attorneys general who argue it would discourage non-citizens from responding, resulting in a less accurate population count.

"It contains data necessary for the Department of Justice to protect voters and specifically to help us comply with the Voting Rights Act."
— Sarah Sanders

The decision was made "at the departmental level" with assistance from the Justice Department but the White House supports it, said Sanders, who later added that she's not aware of how non-citizens would be affected.

Other highlights from the briefing:

  • Opioid crisis: The White House plans to open an exhibit next month to educate visitors about the impact of the opioid crisis. It will include an installation of a wall of 22,000 engraved white pills with faces of those lost to prescription drug overdoses.
  • On Trump silence after Stormy Daniels interview: "The president has denied the allegations. I have nothing further... We've addressed it, we've addressed it extensively and there's nothing new to add."
  • On the border wall: Trump "still has plans to look at potential ways" for Mexico to pay for proposed border wall.

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Ina Fried, author of Login
57 mins ago - Technology

Google's parent shuts down effort to deliver internet via balloons

Image: Loon

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, one of its "moonshots," which aimed to deliver internet service via high-altitude balloons.

Why it matters: The effort was one of several approaches designed to get high-speed connectivity to some of the world's most remote spots and proved useful in the aftermath of disasters that shut down traditional infrastructure.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead — Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: NYC postpones vaccine appointments following shipment delays — Private companies step in to fill vaccine logistics vacuum.
  4. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.