President Trump will announce an executive action to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census, two senior administration officials have confirmed to CBS News.
He tweeted that he’ll be making a statement on the topic Thursday afternoon.
The anticipated 5 p.m. announcement comes as the president exhibits frustration over the Supreme Court decision blocking the Trump administration from adding the question, ruling that his administration had failed to provide adequate justification for the question.
Multiple legal battles over the question are still playing out in lower courts.
It isn’t yet clear exactly what kind of executive action the president will take. Mr. Trump initially described his announcement as a news conference, but the updated White House schedule only described the event as remarks — meaning reporters might not have an opportunity to ask questions.
Before the president announced his impending statement on the citizenship question, administration officials inside the Justice Department expressed skepticism about the viability of an executive order.
A former Justice Department official told CBS News that career attorneys within the department know the executive action is unlikely to be upheld in court. And Barr initially agreed with career lawyers that it didn’t make sense to further pursue the citizenship question after losing in the Supreme Court, the official said.
But when Mr. Trump insisted, Barr agreed to push forward, even in the absence of a clearly viable way to do so. Government attorneys are under pressure to come up with a new justification for adding the question to the census.
The administration is under a deadline to print the census, and indeed the census questionnaire has already been sent to the printer for printing.
Mr. Trump has previously told reporters he was considering an executive order, although he also said last week his administration was exploring other possible routes.This is a developing story and will be updated.