This count's big
The standoff over subpoenas is quickly widening.
Partisan tension over how to count residents for the U.S. census meshed on Wednesday with partisan tension over congressional oversight, signaling a low-boil constitutional crisis.
The Trump administration has moved to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Opponents said this is meant to give the Republican Party an edge by discouraging response from immigrants here illegally or even legally.
Census counts are used to distribute resources and representation across the nation. Fewer immigrant responses could mean an undercount especially in Democratic enclaves.
President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege to shield materials from Congress related to the administration's decision.
In turn, the House Oversight Committee voted 24-15 to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for failing to turn over documents regarding the citizenship question.
"We must protect the integrity of the census and stand up for Congress’ authority under the Constitution to conduct meaningful oversight,” said committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md). "What is being hidden?"
Foreign moles, if you're listening ...
Trump likes to call himself a "nationalist." But he seemed to give the term a topsy-turvy meaning Wednesday when he said that if a foreign power offered dirt on his 2020 opponent, he'd be open to accepting it — and that he'd have no obligation to call in the FBI.
Of course, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani has already talked about digging up such help against Joe Biden and his family from Ukrainian investigators. Now the president seems to put his own stamp on that sort of activity, even after the Mueller probe.
He told ABC-TV in an interview: "When somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, 'Oh, let's call the FBI.' The FBI doesn't have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressmen, they all do it, they always have, and that's the way it is. It's called oppo research."
Hours after his famous appeal to "Russia, if you're listening," to find Hillary Clinton's emails, Russian hackers indeed tried for the first time to electronically break into her personal office, the Mueller report found.
Troll that poll!
Trump bewailed “fake numbers” amid reports that his own campaign’s internal polling data show him lagging Democrat Joe Biden in key battleground states, Newsday's Laura Figueroa Hernandez reports.
A Quinnipiac poll this week shows Trump trailing a slew of leading Democratic contenders in head-to-head matchups, including Biden. The New York Times cited a 17-state survey by his pollster Tony Fabrizio that also shows the president in trouble.
Speaking to reporters at the White House Wednesday, Trump said he was "not a huge believer in polling."
"We have some internal polling, very little, and it's unbelievably strong," Trump said without disclosing any data. "The strongest I've ever been is exactly today." Predictably, he also shrieked denials on Twitter.
More talk of 'Fort Trump'
Joining with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump said he's moving, 1,000 American troops into Poland, Newsday's Figueroa reports. There are now 4,000.
Duda and aides have been pushing for the increased U.S. presence and have even lightheartedly talked before about a permanent base that could be called “Fort Trump.”
“We haven’t totally made ... the decision,” Trump said, adding a Polish purchase is in the works for the kind of F-35 jets that flew overhead for the occasion. "I don't talk about permanence or not permanence," he added.
The troop shift could antagonize Russia, which came up during the ceremony. Trump stood by his claim last week that Russia informed him it was withdrawing personnel from Venezuela, where it backs the current dictatorship. President Vladimir Putin's government denies doing so.
“Well, let's just see who’s right. You know what you’re gonna do? You're gonna see in the end who’s right. You just watch it. OK?” Trump said. “And we'll see who is right.”
Donald Trump Jr. had a second closed-door interview with the GOP-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee. On his way in, he told reporters he has "nothing to correct" from his previous testimony.
He was to discuss answers he gave Congress in 2017 after former Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen said he regularly briefed Trump Jr. on the proposed hotel in Moscow. Trump Jr. told Congress he was only "peripherally aware" of it.
Also on the agenda was the famous Trump Tower meeting between campaign aides and Russians. Last month he initially balked at appearing again. But after Wednesday's session, he said he was glad the matter "is over" and that he isn't worried about a perjury charge.
What else is happening:
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer implored the majority to bring the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund to the floor for a standalone vote this summer once it passes the House, Newsday's Tom Brune reports.
- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) released a plan for so-called Dreamers to become citizens, a plank in her presidential campaign.
- Former Trump aide Hope Hicks is due to appear before the House Judiciary Committee after all.
- Maverick Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is targeted for removal at the polls by Trump and allies for supporting impeachment.
- The Justice Department plans to interview senior CIA officers as they review the Russia probe, the Times reports.