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After court disaster — Trump’s Justice Department lawyers quit census case

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Last week was a complete disaster for President Donald Trump’s administration and the Department of Justice when it came to defending their case to keep the citizenship question in the census. It’s no surprise that the DOJ is now swapping out the lawyers the New York Times reported Sunday.

Former Jeff Sessions chief of staff Jody Hunt, who now serves as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, was forced to be on a call with U.S. District Judge George Hazel. DOJ lawyer Josh Gardner lamented that never in his 16 years at the department has he ever gone into court not knowing what exactly he was defending.

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The DOJ was forced to twist themselves in knots trying to claim that they had to move quickly on the census because it needed to be printed. That claim was quickly dashed by the president’s twitchy Twitter fingers. He claimed in a tweet that he was thinking about still asking the question and working on some options.

The decision to keep the question part of the census was news to the DOJ attorney, who hadn’t read Trump’s Twitter feed before getting on the phone with the judge.

As of Sunday, however, Gardner is out, according to the New York Times.

“The announcement came days after plaintiffs in the case filed a motion in United States District Court that effectively accused the department and the administration of lying about the urgency of resolving the census dispute in time to meet a July 1 deadline to begin printing census forms. Although that deadline has long passed, the department has continued to argue in court that it is seeking new ways to add the question to the next census,” The Times reported.

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According to former DOJ appointee under President Barack Obama, the existing lawyer refused to be a part of the case, something he called “terrible and rare.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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