As the Trump administration backs away from a legal battle over voting rights and the 2020 census, evacuations have been ordered in New Orleans as the city anticipates a possible hurricane.
The Guardian’s Jamiles Lartey reports from New Orleans that Tropical Storm Barry could have winds of about 75mph (120km/h) and bring could have winds of about 75mph (120km/h) of rain.
Trump’s announcement that he would use his executive authority to direct federal agencies to share existing data about the number of citizens and non-citizens in the United States, rather than trying to add a citizenship question to the census, was greeted as a victory by voting rights activists.
Some conservatives, including members of Trump’s own administration, saw the news as a defeat, Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported.
Trump Backs Away from Attempt to Add Citizenship Question to 2020 Census
President Trump backed away from an attempt to force a question about US citizenship onto the US census, announcing in a press conference that he was instead directing federal agencies to share government records in order to assemble an estimate of the number of citizens and non-citizens living in the United States.
The announcement comes weeks after the supreme court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to add a question about citizenship to the United States’ once-a-decade count of all residents, a move that civil rights groups and the Census Bureau’s own research suggested would lead to an undercount of immigrants of color.
Civil rights advocates greeted Trump’s announcement of the alternate data collection effort as a victory.
“It’s over. We won,” Dale Ho, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project, wrote on Twitter.
Both Trump and Attorney General William Barr called the decision a logistical one, saying that there was simply not enough time to resolve the lawsuits over adding a citizenship question to the census itself.
Trump had previously pledged to use his executive power to find a new way to ask the citizenship question, raising concerns that he might try to defy or work around the supreme court’s ruling.
Speaking after the president, the attorney general insisted that concerns that the President would defy the court and print the citizenship question by “executive fiat” were nothing but “rank speculation.”
In a ruling last month, the supreme court upheld a lower court decision against Trump, saying that the commerce department’s stated rationale for adding the citizenship question – to protect voting rights – “seems to have been contrived” and was a “distraction”.
Citing the US Census Bureau’s own research, plaintiffs in the case had argued that the unprecedented inclusion of such a question was likely to lead to a significant undercount in the American population. Such an undercount, which would mostly affect minority immigrant communities, could benefit Republicans at the ballot box, according to political research unearthed during the case.
This is Lois Beckett and Maanvi Singh, taking over live politics coverage from our West Coast bureau.
President Trump is expected to hold a press conference momentarily on his plan for getting around a Supreme Court ruling blocking his administration from asking about US citizenship on the once-a-decade census count of all Americans.
Multiple media outlets have reported that he’s planning to announce an alternate route for collecting citizenship data that does not involve the 2020 census.
Civil rights advocates have argued that adding a citizenship question would likely result in an undercount of immigrants of color, which could benefit Republicans electorally.
If so, Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s voting rights project argued earlier today, that will mean a “total defeat” for the Trump administration on this issue.
“An ‘action’ is likely little more than a press release,” Michael Waldman, the head of the progressive Brennan Center, wrote earlier today.
Subpoenas, immigration raids and social media…
The latest update on the day’s events from Jessica Glenza, signing off coverage in New York.
- A dozen former Trump administration officials or supporters have been subpoenaed by the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee, including his advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a preliminary lawsuit in anticipation of immigration raids this weekend.
- It remains unclear what Trump may announce at the White House Rose Garden press conference called to address the citizenship question on the decennial US Census, although Trump said he had a solution that would be, “really good.”
- At a “social media summit,” where no representatives of social media companies were present, Trump derided the media and claimed social media platforms were guilty of conservative bias. He also said he would invite social media executives to the White House.
Before the White House livestream of Trump’s “social media summit” ended, he had just announced intentions to invite representatives of the “big social media platforms,” to the White House.
He also said his administration would use “all regulatory and legislative solutions” to protect “free speech,” and provide “more freedom”.
I am not speaking for our side, I don’t even know if you’re on our side,” said Trump. He continued, “Big tech must not censor the voices of the American people.”
Trump said the media is in “a collusion” with social media companies. He has also used the summit to continue to allege social media platforms are biased against conservatives and “our party”.
He also acknowledged how some members of the invited audience may have violated terms of service with their content. When social media banned some people, he said, “In all fairness some of you I can understand… Some of you are out there.”
Trump also said he might invite some of the same audience members to meetings with representatives of tech platforms.
You’re very special people, you’re very brilliant people in many cases… This new technology is so powerful and so important and is has to be used fairly,” said Trump.
The livestream for the “social media summit” abruptly ended as Trump was about to take questions. Trump had just taken the first question.
Trump has just teased his upcoming press conference in the Rose Garden about a citizenship question on the US Census: “We have a solution that will be really good for a lot of people.”
There have been conflicting reports about what Trump will announce at the Rose Garden.
Trump’s social media supporters gather at White House
President Trump’s so-called social media summit is happening now, and you can watch a livestream here. No representatives of the actual platforms being discussed – namely Facebook, Twitter and Google – are at the summit.
Instead, Trump invited “friends” and social media supporters, described by one of our reporters as an event to, “as a platform for rightwing conspiracy theorists, bigots and the professionally aggrieved.”
Trump used the planned speech to berate the media and brag about his own social media prowess.
“Can you imagine if we were covered fairly?” said Trump, claiming his poll numbers were at an all-time high.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other immigration legal aid groups have filed a preemptive lawsuit in federal court in New York, anticipating immigration raids over the weekend. The Trump administration said raids would start on Sunday (they have announced, and then postponed, these raids in the past).
The ACLU aims to protect refugee families from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and others, who fled violence. Here is more from a statement:
The Trump Administration’s plan to arrest and deport thousands of Central American families and children without giving them a fair day in court is both illegal and immoral,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, senior counsel at the ACLU Southern California. “More than one hundred years ago, the Supreme Court decided that immigrants could not be deported without due process. These vulnerable refugees deserve that basic protection.”
The Associated Press has developed an estimate of the cost of President Trump’s Independence Day “extravaganza”: $5.4m.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt provided the latest share of costs, $2.45 million for his agency, in a letter to lawmakers, saying his agency pulled money from operating funds for national parks, recreation fees, and another source to help fund Trump’s Salute to America.
…. In addition, the Department of Defense says its costs came to $1.2 million. Despite repeated requests, the Pentagon as of Thursday refused to provide a precise breakdown.
The military’s efforts included positioning tanks on flat-bed trailers around the capital, meeting Trump’s desire for tanks while minimizing damage to district roads from the heavy armor.
… The District of Columbia estimates it spent about $1.7 million not including police expenses for related demonstrations.
The Associated Press also notes that President Trump’s inauguration, despite being the most expensive in history, did not reimburse Washington DC for $7.3m in expenses.
Here is more from Elizabeth Warren’s new plan to fix the American immigration system, which she released on Medium earlier today.
We need expanded legal immigration that will grow our economy, reunite families, and meet our labor market demands. We need real reform that provides cost-effective security at our borders, addresses the root causes of migration, and provides a path to status and citizenship so that our neighbors don’t have to live in fear. That’s why today I’m announcing my plan for immigration reform — to create a rules-based system that is fair, humane, and that reflects our values.
She goes on to lay out detailed policies on establishing new immigration courts, reducing immigration detection, and reforming Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Under Warren’s plan, ICE would become an agency devoted to, “screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods, and preventing smuggling and trafficking.”
ABC News just reported President Trump “is backing down” from his fight over the citizenship question on the US Census. This appears to conflict with earlier reports that he would try to issue an executive order supporting a citizenship question. From ABC News:
The expected announcement will bring to a close weeks of escalating confusion within the government over his demands that the controversial question be included despite a Supreme Court order that had blocked the move. The White House declined to comment about what exactly the president plans to announce.
Including a citizenship question on the US Census is a vital political issue, because the decennial count of Americans determines the number of Congressional representatives allotted to each state.
For close watchers of the White House, this build up is nothing new. Just today we had a new account of how Trump likes to use confusion and social media to build “suspense” of upcoming announcements, a lot like reality television.
Alberta reports that Trump berated [former House Speaker Paul] Ryan over a 2018 spending bill because it didn’t include funding for his border wall but then said he would sign it if Ryan were to give him time to build suspense on Twitter. Ryan agreed and then publicly sang the president’s praises after the meeting.”
Trump has previewed his speech already today on Twitter. He said he would make an announcement in the White House Rose Garden at 5pm ET.