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WASHINGTON — Democrats ran victory laps and breathed sighs of relief Thursday as President Donald Trump announced that he was backing down on his demands to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census after the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s plan to add it.

“The president’s retreat on adding the misguided citizen question to the census was long overdue and is a significant victory for democracy and fair representation,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “Every person must be counted and no one should be intimidated by the president and his capricious behavior.”

Schumer said that Trump is still “so intent on intimidating communities of color that even when the courts and rule of law thwart him, he still tries to persist in his ham-handed ways.”

Trump announced in remarks Thursday evening in the White House Rose Garden, alongside Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, that he was giving up on a push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, and was instead issuing an executive order directing departments and agencies to better share data related to the number of citizens and non-citizens in the country.

The order will eliminate “longstanding obstacles” to data sharing, the president said, and allow the administration to combine that data with information from the 2020 census questionnaire to create a more accurate count than in the past.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration had not provided a sufficient reason for adding the question.

ACLU Voting Rights Project director Dale Ho, who argued the Supreme Court case, said in a statement Thursday that Trump had just acknowledged defeat. “He lost in the Supreme Court, which saw through his lie about needing the question for the Voting Rights Act. It is clear he simply wanted to sow fear in immigrant communities and turbocharge Republican gerrymandering efforts by diluting the political influence of Latino communities.”

House speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asked if she was happy to hear the news of the president’s retreat, said she was “not happy — jubilant.”

“Because, you know what, if he had tried to defy the Supreme Court, that would have been a constitutional crisis,” she said. “For the basis of the census and the citizenship question, I am glad it’s gone. For the basis of the country, I am glad that he was advised to see the light.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., celebrated the news Thursday on Twitter.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, said in a statement that Trump had “just admitted what his Administration has been denying for two years—that he wants citizenship data in order to gerrymander legislative districts in partisan and discriminatory ways. This never had anything to do with helping to enforce the Voting Rights Act. That was a sham, and now the entire country can see that.”

Cummings added that if the administration did not turn over documents related to the census citizenship question that his committee had subpoenaed, the House would vote to hold Barr and Ross in criminal contempt.

Other Democrats, meanwhile, expressed concern Thursday about the administration’s plan to conduct mass immigration raids on Sunday.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement plan to target about 2,000 families in major cities across the United States — the same 10 cities that were revealed under previous plans, Department of Homeland Security officials said Thursday, though a source told NBC News that two of those cities may change. The previously named cities were: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.

Alex Moe contributed.



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Julián Castro, ineligible for Democratic debate, stays visible in Atlanta neighborhood

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ATLANTA — Even though he would not be onstage at the Democratic debate in Atlanta on Wednesday night, presidential candidate Julián Castro spent the morning in the city anyway touring a neighborhood founded by slaves whose residents are now fighting gentrification.

Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, toured the neighborhood, named Pittsburgh, that was founded in 1883, making it one of the oldest in the city and where many of the neighborhood’s residents have lived for decades.

Although he joked he had was in Atlanta because that’s where the media was, Castro said his visit was a continuation of what his campaign has been about.

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“From the very beginning of this campaign, I’ve spoken out for the most marginalized, the people that have been forgotten, for the poor and not only the middle class, but people who are poor in this country and spoken out to make sure everyone can succeed, a country where everyone counts,” Castro said. “And so we’re going to go where we have the opportunity to deliver that message.”

In tweets of the event, Castro said the neighborhood’s residents are being pushed out for development. He said he met with organizers from Community Movement Builders and Swope Dreams. Castro toured a garden that is used to provide fresh food in the neighborhood, which has limited access to fresh produce and is considered a food desert. He also viewed an aquaponics system that uses goldfish excrement to fertilize nearby growing plants.

In response to a reporter’s question, Castro said Wednesday’s impeachment hearing testimony by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is the “nail in the coffin” for President Donald Trump.

“People know now that we have a president who has violated his oath of office, who has abused his power, who has tried to get other countries to do his political dirty work, bribed them to do so with military aid that he was withholding,” Castro said.

On Tuesday night, Castro participated in an event with podcast host Angela Rye and about 100 people who packed the historic restaurant where it was held, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Castro planned to watch the debate from his campaign office in San Antonio, his campaign said.

In a Facebook post, Castro said some have asked him why he’s staying in the 2020 presidential race if he didn’t make the debate. He answered his own question.

“In the communities I grew up in, people didn’t quit when it got tough,” said Castro, who grew up in San Antonio’s west side, a historically poor, Mexican American area. “Those folks deserve a candidate who has lived their struggles, who champions the issues that impact them.”

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Welch tells Jordan: Trump 'is welcome to take a seat right there'

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Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., told Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, that “President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there,” and testify after Jordan claimed no one had first-hand knowledge in the impeachment inquiry.

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Boris Johnson's tax promise to see Britons £500 better off – 'Low tax for working people!'

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BORIS Johnson has promised to hand millions of workers tax cut of nearly £500-a-week if he wins the general election.

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