Trump: 'Totally ridiculous' to have census without citizenship question

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE on Wednesday defended his administration’s controversial decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

“I think it’s totally ridiculous that we would have a census without asking,” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with the president of Poland.

His remarks came the same day the Justice Department announced that Trump had invoked executive privilege to block congressional investigators from viewing documents related to the administration's move to add the citizenship question.

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The decision to invoke privilege escalated the fight between the White House and the Democratic-controlled House.

The Oversight and Reform Committee is set to vote Wednesday afternoon on whether to hold Attorney General William BarrBill BarrGOP lawmaker calls for Justice Dept. to probe international court Barr pulls over to thank pro-police rally in Virginia Trump: Yates either lying or grossly incompetent MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossNOAA hurricane forecast predicts record number of storms in 2020 33K laptops meant for Alabama distance learning are stuck in customs, could be held until October Mini-exodus of Trump officials from Commerce to lobby on semiconductors MORE in contempt for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents related to their census investigation.

Critics in Congress argue that adding a citizenship question could intimidate immigrants from participating and create an inaccurate population count. That could have major consequences when congressional district lines are redrawn, with opponents arguing it could benefit Republicans.

The administration has dismissed that argument, saying the question is intended to provide accurate information about the U.S. population.

A citizenship question has not been included in census questions for all U.S. households since 1950.