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The top Trump official behind the #2020census #citizenshipquestion is being questioned in Congress today.

Stand by for a THREAD on the 10 am ET House @OversightDems @GOPoversight Committee hearing w Commerce @SecretaryRoss, who oversees @uscensusbureau👇

2. I’ll be in the hearing room. How you can watch live starting at 10 a.m. ET👇

3. While we wait for hearing to start at 10 a.m. ET, an earlier thread on Commerce @SecretaryRoss' past testimony to Congress on #2020census #citizenshipquestion👇

@SecretaryRoss 4. This exchange between Commerce @SecretaryRoss & @RepGraceMeng (D-NY) during March 2018 House Appropriations subcommittee hearing is worth remembering bc Meng said afterwards that Ross "lied to my face"👇

@SecretaryRoss @RepGraceMeng 5. On March 20, 2018...

Meng: "Has the president or anyone in the White House discussed with you or anyone on your team about adding the citizenship question?"

Ross: "I am not aware of any such."

About 7 months later, I reported👇

@SecretaryRoss @RepGraceMeng 6. Meng's Q to Ross came after exchange abt Trump campaign email that said President Trump wanted #2020census to ask abt citizenship status.

How @CommerceGov Dept spokesperson Kevin Manning explained why Ross testified he wasn't "aware" of discussion bet. him/his team & WH👇
@SecretaryRoss @RepGraceMeng @CommerceGov 7. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of New York - the 1st federal judge to block Trump admin plans for #2020census #citizenshipquestion - found explanations for Secretary Ross' testimony to be "unconvincing."

From Judge Furman's opinion (p. 60 of PDF)👇

8. What you're missing not being in the room: what smells like paint fumes and this special appearance👇

9. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross just sat down. Oversight committee member @RepMarkMeadows (R-N.C.) shook his hand.
@RepMarkMeadows 10. The hearing has officially begun.
@RepMarkMeadows 11. The top Republican on House Oversight & Reform Committee says under the Obama admin, #2020census preparations were in "disarray" and "there was no leadership" and praised leadership by Ross and Commerce Deputy Secretary Karen Dunn Kelley.
@RepMarkMeadows 12. That top Republican is, of course, Rep. @Jim_Jordan of Ohio.

@RepMarkMeadows (R-N.C.) praises Ross & his Commerce Dept staff for being very responsive for #2020Census prep.

Meadows says he's "troubled" that today's hearing is interfering w #CitizenshipQuestion lawsuits.
@RepMarkMeadows @Jim_Jordan 13. Committee chair @RepCummings (D-Md.) declares a recess because of a vote. Hearing will resume at 10:40 a.m. ET.
@RepMarkMeadows @Jim_Jordan @RepCummings 14. Secretary Ross has left the hearing room.
@RepMarkMeadows @Jim_Jordan @RepCummings 15. JUST IN: DOJ official who wrote #CitizenshipQuestion request, John Gore, admitted a fmr "Transition Team official provided him an initial draft of a letter" from DOJ asking for the citizenship question to be added, according to @RepCummings statement

@RepMarkMeadows @Jim_Jordan @RepCummings 16. John Gore previously testified for #CitizenshipQuestion lawsuit deposition that he wrote the 1st draft of the DOJ letter to the Census Bureau requesting the question.

From his exchange with @ACLU attorney @dale_e_ho👇

@RepMarkMeadows @Jim_Jordan @RepCummings @ACLU @dale_e_ho @arnoldporter 18. Secretary Ross is back in his chair in the hearing room. Still waiting for hearing to resume.
@RepMarkMeadows @Jim_Jordan @RepCummings @ACLU @dale_e_ho @arnoldporter 19. Committee is doing a roll call vote on @RepClayHiggins (R-La.)'s motion to adjourn today's House Oversight hearing with Secretary Ross.
@RepMarkMeadows @Jim_Jordan @RepCummings @ACLU @dale_e_ho @arnoldporter @RepClayHiggins 20. Hearing has resumed after roll call vote of 17 yea's - 20 no's on @RepClayHiggins' motion to adjourn hearing.
@RepMarkMeadows @Jim_Jordan @RepCummings @ACLU @dale_e_ho @arnoldporter @RepClayHiggins 21. @RepClayHiggins has entered into record a letter that Higgins says is from Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch & Justice Clarence Thomas "warning against further record-seeking endeavours" that "could injure the integrity of the case pending before #SCOTUS.
@RepMarkMeadows @Jim_Jordan @RepCummings @ACLU @dale_e_ho @arnoldporter @RepClayHiggins 22. As @RepCummings begins his opening statement, the Commerce Department tweets out Secretary Ross' prepared remarks:

23. These prepared remarks by Secretary Ross provided by Rep. Cummings’ press secretary are slightly different than those on Commerce website👇
24. As Chair Cummings recaps federal judges' rulings against Ross' decision to add #CitizenshipQuestion, Ross has fingers crossed in his lap, takes sips from cup.
25. Secretary Ross has been sworn in to the House Oversight committee hearing by Chair Cummings.
26. If you're following along at home, Secretary Ross appears to be reading from the remarks posted on Commerce Department's website: commerce.gov/news/speeches/…
27. "Certain aspects of this issue are in litigation before the Supreme Court and other courts. However, I look forward to answering as many of your questions as I can," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says.
28. JUST IN: Trump transition team official Mark Neuman provided DOJ official John Gore with "a draft letter that would request reinstatement of the citizenship question on the census,” according to House @OversightDems memo of Gore interview👇

@OversightDems 29. "I testified truthfully to the best of my ability" about the origins of the #2020Census #CitizenshipQuestion, Secretary Ross says in response to Rep. Cummings' Q on whether Ross wants to withdraw past testimony that he was "solely" responding to DOJ request for Q.
@OversightDems 30. Secretary Ross says Steve Bannon only asked Ross if he would take a call from Kris Kobach.
@OversightDems 31. DOJ official John Gore told House Oversight Committee staff that "in the fall of 2017, he had discussions about apportionment with" former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions & separately, with 2 Commerce Dept lawyers, according to committee memo👇

@OversightDems 32. Ross said "as I sit here" I do not remember about what House Oversight Dems are calling a "secret memo" abt real reason for #CitizenshipQuestion that DOJ official discussed with Oversight committee staff. Ross said he'll provide response after hearing. From Gore's interview👇
@OversightDems 33. Chair Cummings says there was no communication between the House Oversight Committee/staff and plaintiffs in #2020Census #CitizenshipQuestion lawsuits.
@OversightDems 34. Rep. @virginiafoxx (R-N.C.) says a #CitizenshipQuestion is needed on #2020Census for "full and honest debate about immigration in the country." Secretary Ross says the question is "not a tool for immigration," does not ask about immigration status, only US citizenship status.
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx 35. Hearing is recessed until 12:15 p.m. ET.
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx 36. Rep. @LacyClayMO1 (D-Mo.) to Sec. Ross: "You lied to Congress. You misled the American ppl. And you are complicit in the Trump admin's intent to suppress the growing political power of the non-white population...You should...resign."

Ross: "Is there a question in that, sir?"
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 37. Chair Cummings say hearing is resuming around 12:25 p.m. ET.
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 38. UPDATE: The "letter" from Justices Gorsuch & Thomas @RepClayHiggins entered into record is Oct. 22 opinion on stay application for #CitizenshipQuestion lawsuits, according to Rep. Jim Jordan's spokesperson Charli Huddleston: supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf…

@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins 39. Hearing has resumed. @RepArmstrongND (R-N.D.) is arguing that questioning Secretary Ross today at House Oversight Committee hearing is "an end run" on the #SCOTUS stay of Ross' deposition for #CitizenshipQuestion lawsuits.
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND 40. @RepRaskin asks if he will ask Commerce Dept staff to release to Congress what House Oversight Dems are calling a "secret memo" about real reason for #CitizenshipQuestion. Ross says he will "take it up with staff after the hearing and we will consult with counsel."
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin 42. FACT CHECK: There was no census question about citizenship status for the 1960 census.
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin 43. @CongressmanRaja (D-Ill.) asked Secretary Ross whether anyone at White House talked to him about #CitizenshipQuestion before he joined admin, when he was interviewing to be the head of the Commerce Dept, which oversees the census.

Ross: "Not that I can recall, sir."
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja 44. Secretary Ross, who oversees @uscensusbureau, said he "did not" have any input on President Trump's $7.2 billion FY 2020 budget proposal for #2020census, after Q from @RepLawrence (D-Mich.). Ross said he hasn't "had a chance to review" proposal👇

@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov 46. Hearing has been recessed until 1:45 p.m. ET after Secretary Ross asked Chair Cummings for a break.
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov 47. Secretary Ross is back in his seat, and Chair Cummings has resumed the hearing.
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov 48. Before the last break, @CongressmanRaja: "When was the last time you discussed the #CitizenshipQuestion with President Trump?"

Ross: President Trump wasn't "listed as one of the parties with whom" he had discussed Q before receiving Dec. 2017 DOJ letter.

Here's that list👇
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov 49. Rep. @GerryConnolly (D-Va.) says Congress has "no record" of Ross submitting report abt late addition of #CitizenshipQuestion as #2020census question topic as required by law.

Ross said he's been "advised by counsel that my reports fully comply with statutory requirements."
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly 50. Asked by @RepKatieHill (D-Calif.), Secretary Ross said any conversation he's had with White House about the #CitizenshipQuestion is "confidential" and he's "not authorized to disclose them."
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly @RepKatieHill @RepGraceMeng 52. Full disclosure: two @NPR articles have been entered into the record for today's House Oversight committee hearing:

1) By Rep. @MarkMeadows (R-N.C.):

2) By @RepKatieHill (D-Calif.):
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly @RepKatieHill @RepGraceMeng @NPR @MarkMeadows 54. Before the break, Rep. @DWStweets (D-Fla.) asked who was "dug in" abt not asking #CitizenshipQuestion on August 2017 call that Ross was on.

"I do not know the answer to your question as I sit here," Ross said.

Re: this email (w/ fewer redactions)👇

@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly @RepKatieHill @RepGraceMeng @NPR @MarkMeadows @DWStweets 55. Hearing has resumed. Secretary Ross said he's willing to go past 3 p.m. ET, which was what his staff told Chair Cummings earlier was a "hard stop."
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly @RepKatieHill @RepGraceMeng @NPR @MarkMeadows @DWStweets 56. Also before the break, Rep. @DWStweets (D-Fla.) asked if Secretary Ross called former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions after writing this August 2017 email, and Ross said his counsel told him it's "not appropriate" for him to answer👇

@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly @RepKatieHill @RepGraceMeng @NPR @MarkMeadows @DWStweets 58. @RepMaloney (D-NY) asked if Secretary Ross read memo by @uscensusbureau's Chief Scientist John Abowd recommending against adding #CitizenshipQuestion.

Ross: "Not all questions can be answered yes or no."

Maloney: "I'm going to take that as a no."
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly @RepKatieHill @RepGraceMeng @NPR @MarkMeadows @DWStweets @RepMaloney 59. Earlier in the hearing... Secretary Ross said former Attorney General Jeff Sessions "was not someone I or anyone else could bully into any decision" and that Sessions is "very much his own person."

@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly @RepKatieHill @RepGraceMeng @NPR @MarkMeadows @DWStweets @RepMaloney 60. Asked by @RepRoKhanna (D-Calif.) if he knew DOJ was told not to meet w Census staff abt #CitizenshipQuestion alternative, Ross said he had no direct knowledge.

Ross: "I did not raise any objection to the career staff meeting with anyone."

@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly @RepKatieHill @RepGraceMeng @NPR @MarkMeadows @DWStweets @RepMaloney @RepRoKhanna @RepMarkGreen @RepRashida @RepJimmyGomez @AOC @RepPressley 65. Chair @RepCummings says he's giving Secretary Ross until March 19 to finish releasing documents about #CitizenshipQuestion to the House Oversight Committee. Otherwise, Cummings says he may have to issue a subpoena and conduct more transcribed interviews w Commerce, DOJ staff.
@OversightDems @virginiafoxx @LacyClayMO1 @RepClayHiggins @RepArmstrongND @RepRaskin @CongressmanRaja @uscensusbureau @RepLawrence @CommerceGov @GerryConnolly @RepKatieHill @RepGraceMeng @NPR @MarkMeadows @DWStweets @RepMaloney @RepRoKhanna @RepMarkGreen @RepRashida @RepJimmyGomez @AOC @RepPressley @RepCummings 66. Chair Cummings said he's not convinced that #CitizenshipQuestion did not come directly from Steve Bannon. Cummings also said he doesn't recall Jeff Sessions as "the epicenter of voting rights."

"We may need to bring" Secretary Ross back for another hearing, Cummings warned.
68. Hearing's over, but this thread is not! (Took a breather to process the end of the ~6-hour hearing) Here we go...
69. Asked by @RepRashida (D-Mich.) if he consulted w Trump transition team official Mark Neuman on #CitizenshipQuestion, Secretary Ross said Neuman was "outside consultant" on "various" census matters bc of Neuman's past @uscensusbureau experience👇

70. Ross said the 1st time he met with Mark Neuman was during his prep for his confirmation hearing for his commerce secretary nomination. "I don't know how he came to be introduced to me...I had never met Mr. Neuman prior to" confirmation prep.
71. @RepRashida: Did you discuss w Mark Neuman idea of having DOJ request #CitizenshipQuestion?

Ross: "I don't know that it happened in that context. Everybody knew that I was interested in finding out" from DOJ if they would send a letter.👇

72. Asked by @RepRashida if he was aware that Mark Neuman provided draft letter requesting #CitizenshipQuestion to DOJ, Ross said he "didn't even know" that Neuman was "going over to" DOJ, "let alone that he might of brought a letter" to DOJ's John Gore.

73. Ross: "I believe what Mr. Gore testified was that he wasn't sure who brought him...a draft letter. He thought it might have been Mark Neuman. But I'm also told...that in Mark Neuman's deposition, he denied any such event."

Excerpts of House @OversightDems' interview w Gore👇
74. @RepRashida: "There's no legitimate reason for this former Trump transition team member official to be drafting letters for [DOJ lawyers or census experts at Commerce Dept] unless there is some kind of political scheme happening behind closed doors."
75. @SecretaryRoss: "Anyone who thinks that Mark Neuman, or I, or anyone else could push Attorney General Sessions around hasn't been paying very good attention to his career."
76. @RepRashida asked @SecretaryRoss to provide written response on why @uscensusbureau decided not to add Middle Eastern or North African category to #2020census. Ross told @RepCummings he'll "do his best" to reply by March 19.

My reporting on #MENA👇

77. Referring to Sept. 2017 email from DOJ official saying "AG is eager to assist," @RepJimmyGomez (D-Calif.) asks Ross, "Why is [the U.S. attorney general] assisting you and not the other way around? That is why this whole charade doesn't make sense."👇

78. "It's all there in black & white...It has nothing to do with the DOJ. It has nothing to do with the Voting Rights Act," said Rep. @AOC (D-N.Y.) about this July 14, 2017 email from Kris Kobach to Secretary Ross about adding a #CitizenshipQuestion👇

79. Rep. @AOC: Did you cut off all contact with Kris Kobach after that July 14, 2017 email about #CitizenshipQuestion?

@SecretaryRoss: "I have no recollection of speaking with him again after."

Here's email from Ross' then-chief of staff confirming a call w Kobach on July 25👇
80. Rep. @AOC: Did you bring up Kris Kobach, his #CitizenshipQuestion ideas w anyone in Commerce Dept after July 2017 email?

Ross: "I ultimately rejected" the Q Kobach wanted.

US District Judge Jesse Furman on Kobach mention in Sept. 2017 mtg that Ross said he couldn't recall👇
81. Rep. @AOC pointed out the #CitizenshipQuestion the Trump admin wants on the #2020census is "materially different" than 1950 census Q on citizenship: "It is not a reinstatement. It is not a placing again or restoration of the original question."👇

82. "Why are we violating the law to include" this question? Rep. @AOC asked, pointing out Ross hasn't submitted legally required report to Congress noting he added #CitizenshipQuestion to originally proposed #2020Census Q topics.

What the law says👇

83. This reporting requirement is spelled out in Section 141(f)(3) of Title 13.

Secretary Ross not meeting this reporting requirement for the #CitizenshipQuestion was one of the reasons why U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of NY found Ross' decision to add the Q to be unlawful👇
84. Not meeting the Section 141(f)(3) reporting requirement was also one of the reasons why U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of San Francisco found Ross' decision to add the #CitizenshipQuestion to be unlawful👇
85. Ross: "I have been told by counsel that we have complied with all the regulations. I will take up with counsel the suggestions that have been made by the congressperson [@aoc], & we will get back in due course on the record."

@RepCummings asked Ross for a written statement.
86. @RepPressley (D-Mass.): What did you and then-AG Jeff Sessions discuss during your Sept. 18, 2017 call?

Ross: "The content of those conversations is confidential. I'm not authorized to disclose them."

Email showing call between Sessions and Ross👇
87. @RepPressley: On any of your calls with the AG, did you ask the AG to send you a letter requesting a #CitizenshipQuestion?

Ross: "The content of my conversations with the AG are confidential. I'm not authorized to disclose them."
88. @RepPressley: "It's critical that we have an accurate census count. Do you agree? Yes or no."

Ross: "We are trying our best to get..."

(Pressley presses for a yes or no)

Ross: "I have to answer as best I can..."
89. @RepPressley: Does @uscensusbureau have a plan to fill vacancies in office overseeing IT systems integration for #2020Census?

Ross, who oversees census, answered bureau just got new permanent director & he doesn't recall exact number of current vacancies.

From @USGAO👇
90. @RepPressley: What are the biggest risks to the #2020Census if IT systems integrations contract doesn't have adequate oversight?

Ross: "I do believe the contracts do have adequate oversight...We are on time and on budget."👇

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