President Donald Trump is expected to announce later Thursday he is backing down from his effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, and will instead take executive action that instructs the Commerce Department to survey the American public on the question through other means, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
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The expected announcement will bring to a close weeks of escalating confusion within the government over his demands that the controversial question be included despite a Supreme Court order that had blocked the move. The White House declined to comment about what exactly the president plans to announce.
As recently as Thursday morning, administration officials had been repeatedly suggested the president would take executive action calling for the question be added to the census. It was not immediately clear when and why the final decision was made not to move forward with that plan.
Attorney General William Barr, who is also expected to attend the announcement, will now have to determine a path forward for three separate ongoing court cases the administration is fighting in Maryland, California and New York over the administration’s efforts to add the question to the census.
The Department of Justice declined to comment to ABC News.