Mar 27, 2018

White House defends census citizenship question

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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Peter Navarro defends hydroxychloroquine use in heated CNN interview

White House economic adviser Peter Navarro defended the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus during a CNN interview Monday, highlighting "the possibility" that it has therapeutic efficacy.

Why it matters: Navarro did not deny reporting from Axios' Jonathan Swan that he got into a heated exchange in the White House Situation Room over the weekend with infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci about the drug's prospects against the illness.

Special report: Health care workers vs. coronavirus

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, and Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images

Health care workers are at an especially high risk of catching the coronavirus, because of their prolonged exposure to patients who have it. Making matters worse, the U.S. doesn't have enough of the protective equipment, like masks and gloves, that keeps them safe.

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Backed by the Fed, bond investors get bullish

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed's massive injections of liquidity have reopened much of the bond market, and after back-to-back weeks in which more than $100 billion flowed out of bond funds, investors have regained their bearings and now see opportunity.

What's happening: But after the hemorrhaging outflows relented last week, bulls may now be sticking their heads out a bit too far. Junk bond funds took in more than $7 billion for the week ended April 1, according to Refinitiv Lipper, setting a new weekly record.