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‘Wilbur Ross has a problem’: Lawmaker aims to get citizenship question removed from US census

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The likely incoming Democratic chairman of the congressional panel overseeing the U.S. census said on Tuesday he aims to pressure the Trump administration into removing a question about citizenship from the 2020 census questionnaire.

Representative Gerald Connolly said that when Democrats assume leadership of the House of Representatives in January, they plan to call Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to testify about the citizenship question, which has spurred criticism and lawsuits.

Ross earlier “lied to Congress” about why the question was added to the census, Connolly told Reuters in an interview.

“My hope is we get this question removed from the actual census,” Connolly said in an interview with Reuters, saying he would seek to bring that about by calling the public’s attention to the issue.

“It’s not too late … we have until June before the forms are finalized,” he said.

Evidence produced by the committee could also be cited by courts investigating the matter, he said.

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Ross announced the citizenship question in March, billing it as a way to help enforce the Voting Rights Act, which requires a tally of citizens of voting age to protect minorities against discrimination.

Critics have said the question could depress the response to the census from immigrants, who often live in Democratic-leaning areas. If undercounted, areas with high immigrant populations could lose seats in the House.

Numerous U.S. states and cities have sued the administration to have the question removed, calling it unconstitutional.

U.S. congressional elections last month gave Democrats control of the House starting in January. Connolly is expected to chair the government operations subcommittee, part of the House Oversight Committee.

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Connolly and Representative Elijah Cummings, likely chairman of the full Oversight Committee, earlier this year questioned Ross’ contention that the Commerce Department added the citizenship question at the request of the Justice Department, saying court documents indicated Commerce initiated the idea.

“Wilbur Ross has a problem. … He told Congress previously that (the Justice Department) kind of made him do it. We now know that’s not true. … That means you (Ross) lied to Congress about this,” Connolly said Tuesday. “Why? If you are so confident in the importance of this question, why would you feel compelled to lie about it?” he said.

A Commerce Department spokesman said Ross had explained his rationale in March for including the citizenship question, and that nothing in the court documents subsequently produced “changes the sound rationale he articulated.”

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Peter Cooney

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Sailing among the stars: Here’s how photons could revolutionize space flight

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A few days from now, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will lift off from Florida, carrying a satellite the size of a loaf of bread with nothing to power it but a huge polyester "solar sail."

It's been the stuff of scientists' dreams for decades but has only very recently become a reality.

The idea might sounds crazy: propelling a craft through the vacuum of space with no engine, no fuel, and no solar panels, but instead harnessing the momentum of packets of light energy known as photons -- in this case from our Sun.

The spacecraft to be launched on Monday, called LightSail 2, was developed by the Planetary Society, a US organization that promotes space exploration which was co-founded by the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan in 1980.

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Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

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Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

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