September 20, 2018

This morning on CNN, the Reality Check segment asked if the Trump administration tried to twist the U.S. census to their political advantage, and if a cabinet secretary lied to Congress about it.

That's a rhetorical question, right?

John Avlon said there is "new evidence" that Wilbur Ross lied to Congress to give the Republicans an edge in redistricting.

"Newly revealed documents show that Wilbur Ross was trying to pull that off. When the Trump administration proposed adding a question about citizenship, the controversy was as swift as it was predictable," he said.

"They are supposed to count everybody that lives in our country, regardless of their status, and critics say the goal was to undercount non-citizens. They have a clear record of taking hardline positions against undocumented residents and their children. Not so, said Team Trump. They said it was being added back to the Census for the first time since 1950 because the Justice Department needed it to help the Voting Rights Act.

Since initiating the request for inclusion of the citizenship question, because it is from the Department of Justice we are taking it very seriously.

"But now we know that the Justice Department not only didn't initiate the request, it didn't want the citizenship question at all. Quote, "Justice staff did not want to raise the citizen question given the difficulties they were encountering with difficulties with the press over whole Comey affair." That's what Earl Comstock wrote, and that did not stop Ross.

And then Avlon tied in Kris Kobach, who's running for governor of Kansas. (Because where voter suppression lives, Kobach is never far behind.) As Kobach explained in an e-mail, 'without the citizenship questions, aliens are still counted for representation in Congress.'

"Remember, this is how the census is supposed to work," Avlon said.

"The citizenship question was supposed to benefit Republicans while depriving more populous Democratic districts of millions in federal funding for constituents, but Ross needed a cover story."

"And that's your reality check," Avlon concluded.

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