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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Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 11,288,094 — Total deaths: 531,244 — Total recoveries — 6,075,489Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 2,839,917 — Total deaths: 129,676 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Trump's failing culture wars

Data: Google; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

President Trump built his political brand by stoking the nation's culture wars, but search data is showing us how much harder it's been for him to replicate that success while running against another white man in his 70s — and while there's a coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Google Trends data shows Trump's "Sleepy Joe" name-calling isn't generating nearly the buzz "Crooked Hillary" (or "Little Marco") did in 2016. Base voters who relished doubting President Obama's birth certificate aren't questioning Biden's.

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15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.