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Bill Barr blames Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for reason Trump lost on 2020 Census

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In a Rose Garden press conference Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that he is giving up his battle for a citizenship question on the U.S. Census. The executive order he will sign says that the other agencies can work using other data to guestimate the number of undocumented people in the country. It’s the same tactic that has been used since 1950 and what Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested in January 2018.

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Trump’s speech was an overtly political one, where he attacked Democrats for being unpatriotic, saying, in passing, that in Minnesota they’re not allowing the Pledge of Allegiance. He began with a sarcastic comment before claiming that Democrats are somehow trying to erase citizenship entirely.

But the truly awkward moment when Attorney General Bill Barr blamed Ross for messing up their attempts to game the census questionnaires.

He began with gushing praise of the president for taking such an extraordinary step to back down from the fight.

“But while the Supreme Court correctly recognized that it would be entirely appropriate to include citizenship questions on the census, it nevertheless held that the Commerce Department did not quality explain its decisions for doing so on the 2020 census,” Barr said with Ross standing next to him. “Because, as the Supreme Court recognized, the defect in the commerce department’s decision was curable with a better record, the president asked me to work with Secretary Ross to determine whether there remained a viable path for including a citizenship question on the census. I did so.”

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted after the speech that Trump has been “livid” with Ross over this issue.

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Watch his portion of the speech below:

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Gay rights dispute is pulling apart the United Methodist Church, after decades of argument

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The Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the United States, is headed toward a divorce.

In early January, mediators from across the United Methodist Church proposed a separation plan to split the church into two separate denominations, with one that will allow same sex marriages and “practicing” LGBTQ clergy.

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‘Zero doubt we’re getting witnesses’: Trump’s legal team bracing for GOP defections

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If at least four Senate Republicans vote to subpoena additional witnesses and documents -- that could trigger a domino effect.

Sources close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will likely try to reach an agreement with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer if it appears likely that 51 senators will vote for new testimony, with demands for GOP witnesses, rather than going to a vote, reported Axios.

The most likely GOP defectors remain Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Mitt Romney (UT), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Lamar Alexander (TN), but that could put new pressure vulnerable senators up for re-election such as Cory Gardner (CO), Thom Tills (NC), Martha McSally (AZ), Rob Portman (OH), Joni Ernst (IA) and Pat Toomey (PA).

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How Minneapolis made Prince

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It’s been almost four years since Prince’s death, but fascination about the artist, the man and his mythology endures.

On Jan. 28, Alicia Keys, the Foo Fighters, Usher and several of Prince’s collaborators will be paying tribute to the late musician in a special concert, “Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince,” in Los Angeles.

Prince’s peers, critics and fans are often quick to cite his creativity, versatility and talent.

But as a longtime Prince fan who’s also a human geographer, I’ve found myself drawn to the way his hometown, Minneapolis, Minnesota, cultivated his talent.

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