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tv   2020 Census Progress Report  CSPAN  May 19, 2018 6:11am-8:01am EDT

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>> this is a continuation of a hearing that we began last week for reasons that still confound me, was not here last week would have been more convenient for me and more convenient for the members but i don't run the department so for what are reason, weren't here has week, here this week. with that i have to administer an oath because that is what we do for all witnesses so if you would please stand and raise your right hand. in [witness sworn] >> we are pleased to introduce are in john gore, the acting assistant attorney general. you're recognize for your five-minute opening statement. >> good motorhome, therapy
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dowdy, ranking members and the other distinguished members. the department of justice recognizes this committee's important oversight role and on behalf of the department i thank you for allowing me to appear today. the committee originally invited me to appear last week on may 8th as part part of a panel with four other government wilts from the department of commerce and the census bureau. i accepted that invitation but the committee understand the department that the committee had added a nongovernment witness to the panel. it is long standing department of justice policy and practice to decline participation in committee hearing panels that claw nongovernment witness, particularly when the department is involved in litigation regarding the subject matter of the hearing. accordingly, before last week's hearing, the department reached out to the committee and offered several accommodations that would have allowed know provide testimony last week. they included moving the nongovernment witness to a separate panel, allowing he to submit written testimony and written responses to questions
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for the record, or postponing the hearing. the commit key denied those accommodations. the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in consultation with the department leadership then made the decision on behalf of the department i would not appear at last week's hearing. after further con cull addition with the committee this week the depth decided i would appear voluntarily today without any nongovernment witnesses and without the committee issuing a subpoena. the department of justice is resolutely committed to the full, robust and even-handed enforce them to civil rights laws and a free and fair elections on behalf of all americans. the department's mission is to ensure that all americans have a full and equal right to vote, regardless of race, color, language or military service. and we are fulfilling that mission all across the country. since january of 2017, the department of justice has participated as party in three cases under section 2 of the voting rite act and resolved three other case under the
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national voter registration act. those reresolutions ensure that eligible people will be able to register to vote and remain registered. the department has participated in an amicus in three voting rights cases, including another sex 2 case and a case seeking protect the voting rights of a language minority group in one of america's large he cities. the department has continued our election monitoring program and our outreach and enforcement effort under section 203 of the voting rights act which appropriate thursday rights of language minorities. the department is protecting the voting rights of brave men and women in uniform and other overseas citizen in the absentee voting act. in 2017, and 2018, the department assisted several states in achieving compliance for the special elections and in february of this year the department filed and resolved a voting eights case involving the
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state of arizona. the department is gearing up for the 2018 elections as well. we're working day in and day out to ensure those elects conducted in accordance with the federal law requirement. in furtherance of the department's ongoing commitment to the fair and full and even-hand enforce. to the nation's voting rights law, on december 12, 2017, the department sent a letter formally requesting that the census bureau rhein state on to the 2020 census questionnaire a question regarding citizenship. that question previously appeared on the short form of the census, and the long form of the census, and its currently appears on the census bureau's american community survey. the department's letter explained that aku citizenship data is crucial for the department enforce. the voting rights a.m. act and its important protections against racial discrimination in voting. to toe fully enforce the requirements the department needs reliable citizen voting age population localities and
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sense sunday blockies voting rights -- since the department submitted the letter a few lawsuits have been filed challenging the decision to reinstate the citizenship question on to the census questionnaire. the justice department is defending those lawsuits. in deference to the court's charged with adjudicating litigation involving the united states the department's long-standing policy and practice is to decline to make statements regarding that litigation outside of court. the department accordingly is con strained in testimony today. as i stayed at the outset the department takes this committee's overright role sear seriously but in light of the pending litigation, the potential effect nye public statements might have on ongoing court indicate and the department's litigation constraints i'm unable to make the statements beyond those in the department's letter and other publicly available information. the department thanks the committee for its understanding of these constraints. thank you.
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>> the gentleman from wisconsin is is recognized. i. >> we'll give you a few questions here. what data does the civil rights division receive from the census bureau? >> the data we see from the census bureau, congressman, there are two different forms of data we receive. we don't receive any individual responses to census questionnaires, whether that is the decennial or the acs questionnaire. we sever aggregation of statistical data that come bile the individual answers into statistics for geographic areas. >> give me an example how you would that data. >> sure. for example in our section 2 enforcement work, we need information at the census block level, the census block is the smallest unit of geography that the census collects data on. for example the bureau information says how many people live in the block and what their race is, and which is important
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for section 2 of to the voting rights act and then the acs data provides estimates of citizenship rates but not as a census block level at either the block group or tract level. >> you have to know if anything was going on the amount of people who are legal and i will legal, correct? -- illegal, correct. >> for our purposes in the civil rights division what is orbit to know is racial dat and citizenship data at the census block level and we don't currently receive census citizenship data at the census block level that has to be extrapolated from acs estimates which ironly available for larger gee -- >> give me a hypothetical why that matters. geoff me an example. >> sure. so, the easiest way to think about it, a census block is the fundamental unit of a district. >> just how big is a census block? i'm sure varies greatly. >> it does very greatly. it's maybe a city block or a suburban block and the population of census blocks can vary. >> ten houses maybe.
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>> could be. could be a single apartment building. what a redistricter has to do is collect a number of census blocks to form a district, and so the census block information getting aggregated up to the district level and that's how you know how many people in districts for one person, one vote. and so the citizenship data is crucial because in many voting right act cases you need to know citizenship rates to understand whether the district is performing for a particular minority group. >> i'm trying to -- let's pretend we have a block of ten houses and in those ten houses there are 23 adults and five of them are illegal, and -- i really don't like -- i hate the idea of labeling people by race because i think there oar wails to label people but that's what
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we're obsessed with here and let's say of the 23 people, six people are minority of which two are the illegals illegals and fe citizens. what do i do with that's data? how does that come into play? >> sure. thank you, congressman. what we do with that database analyze the district to determine whether complies with section 2 of the voting rights act. section 2 requires -- its prohibits what is called vote dilution, it requires redistricts to redraw strict with a majority minority group that can elect the candidate of choice. once you put together the census blocks and aggregated the census block information on the district level you know whether you have a section 2 districts or a section 2 problem.
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it may be that a map drawer has split the minority group into two different districts districs otherwise manipulated district lines to violate section -- >> just a second. you're know the one who draftedded the law. isn't there an assumption there, a little bit of an assumption that people when they go to the polls, rather than being -- i would argue intelligent people and voting on people's candidates, opinions on transportation or education or taxation or whatever, that people are expected to vote for people by race? >> i don't believe that is an assumption. one of the fun fundamental requires in a vote die luigs case is show that there are racially polarized voting and that doesn't exist everywhere but writ does exist, section 2 tech deraiseed and racially poorlyized voicing refers to members of a racial group that tend to voting to for the same candidate. >> i think that's a very
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inappropriate assumption, maybe we should look at the law sometimes because i would hope there are lot of americans who just go to he polls and vote for someone other than the same racial background. thank you for -- >> they yields back. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. >> i read your written festival you seem to be saying that you will not answer congress' questions. let me certain -- certain questions. let me read what you said. i will be enable to knock any statements today beyond those in the department's letter for other publicly available information. you claim you cannot answer our questions because the government is being sued. mr. gore, the government gets sued all the time. would you agree? come on. >> i would agree. >> are you really suggesting that this committee's jurisdiction ceases to exist because you happen to be
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involved in litigation with another party? >> congressman, what i'm here to say today -- thank you for your question, by the way. >> sure. >> the department does take sewers seriously the committee's overright role but it's a long standing practice not to comment on litigation outside of touter. >> the startover new york has suedes the government. the state of california has also suedes the government. you don't tell california it has to stand down because new york sued it. they're both independent entities. so are you. so are we. mr. gore can congress is an independent branch of government. an independent branch. we have job to do. we conduct parallel investigations all the time. we're not asking but your litigation. we're not asking about motions or attorneys might make or about work product they are developing in those court cases.
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we are investigating the underlying facts. how and why did you, and and the platal eye pointees at the yates department, come to ask the census bureau to add a new untested citizensship question to the census? that is our job. under the constitution. that is i would we want you here. your job is to answer our questions. so, to let me ask you this. please tell us what your specific role was in the entire process. jibe how the decision was made at the department to send this letter with this pick specific request and tell us who else at the department of justice community indicate with through the process. >> congressman, i appreciate the question and as i said before,
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the department recognizes and acknowledges this committee coms orbit oversight rowell. the department of justice is part of the independent sec executive branch of go and have an obligation to take care that they laws of the country are faith fly outed. the laws -- are executed in a fair manner am part of fulfilling the mandate the department of justice has a long standing policy of maintaining confidential in its deliberations and decisionmaking in order to facilitate robust, open, discussion of decision before they're made so that people can expression their views so that decisionmakers can make the best possible decision they can make. that's similar to process that congos through with members of the staff. you have asked me questions about a decisionmaking process, and internal deliberation advertise department of justice and i'm not in a position to answer the questions today.
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>> major decision -- i only have a little time. mr. gore, a major decision like this one must have gone to the attorney general. did you or anyone else speak directly with the attorney general about this idea, and if so what was the substance of your discussions with them? >> congressman cummings this, department of justice has an important role to play, we have an important role -- >> asked you did you talk to your boss? >> congressman, i'm not going to discuss any internal -- >> you can't tell me whether you -- wait. you are going to tell me you can't answer a question as to whether you talked to your boss who we pay? >> what ill telling you i'm here today to talk but the department's letter and its public decision and the letter is sent to the department of commerce. i'm happy to discuss any public information regarding that. what i'm not in a position to
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discuss today is anything that may or may not have -- >> i know you're going to rope-a-dope me. you must have consult with the head of the voting rights sex of justice. what was the substance of that discussion? >> congressman, again, we facilitate open and robust conversation in the department of justice -- >> did anyone -- you're going to say the same thing. right? we don't have time. you are going to say the saming? yes or no. >> the can you answer that? >> i'm sorry. what's the question. >> that's all right. did anyone at the department of justice ever raise concerns internally about going forward with the plan. >> congressman -- >> same anxious? is that the same answer. >> same answer. >> did you talk to anyone outside of government about this idea, for example, did you talk to chris cobarr or if so what was the substance of those discussions. >> congressman -- >> did you talk to him about this? >> to who? >> chris cobarr.
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>> no. >> okay. mr. gore, there's a differs between investigating the facts of an incident and investigating how the justice department plans to litigate those facts in court. we are only asking about the first. will you or will you not answer these questions in full? >> congressman, i stand by my answers. >> one last thing, mr. chairman. with the indulgence. you say you cannot answer our questions because you are worried about inconsistent statements, is with what you're saying. >> part of the concern -- >> that's fine. just tell us the truth. that's all i want is the truth. you have that obligation every time you appear before any judge, you have that obligation right now, right here. and you're not going to answer. is that right? >> i'm answering truthfully, congressman. the department's long-standing policy and practice. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your indulgence. >> chairman deal yields back.
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the gentleman from alabama is recognized. >> thank you. mr. chairman. one of my concerns about this whole issue of how we count the census and have a digs between counting people who's in an area versus those who are citizens, i think is very important in the context of apportionment. after the census we're anticipating a number of states are going to lose representatives. illinois will very likely lose multiple representatives. michigan, ohio, new york, pennsylvania, rhode island, alabama, possibly minnesota. in the context of what we're trying to do with the send surgeries obviously we have to count everybody. we need to know how many people live in the borders. but in the context of apportionment, seems to me it would be extremely important to
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know how many of those who's are citizens. can you comment on that? >> thank you for your question. i think that is a very important question and a very important issue. it's not one that the department of justice has taken a position on. what our letter speaks to is our enforce. actives nurse section 2 of the voting rights act, not the second question how congressional seats or apportioned. >> with that in mind, though, i'm just trying to become thought this in the context of what we intended with the constitution and how our government functions. we are a nation of sovereign states, who elect representatives to come to washington to represent them. doesn't impact -- impacts t kins out in the context of all this. is programs. we have complained why we think this data is necessary or would be preferable to have at the census block level nor voting
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rights act enforce. ment you have raised several good questions the congress should deliberate on and make an appropriate decision on its own. >> we take very seriously the voting right is. no one should be -- no one eligible to vote should be denied their trying vote. i think -- i don't think we take it seriously enough when people cheat in elections, when they -- when people who are not eligible to vote, when the dead vote, for instance. a lot of jokes about nat certain parts of the country, but i think we also get a look at it. i'm on keep pounding on this because this is important and no diminishes people to have the opportunity to become citizens. and be legitimately counted for apportionment purposes but i
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think there's a fund onlial problem we need to address here with particularly with some stateses that are giving sanctuary to people who are here illegalfully violation of federal law, by the way, and then have those people counseled and have an impact on apportionment and then you have a number of states losing representation in congress for various reasons, alabama is not a state that's losing population. our population has increased but we very likely will lose a representative, and i just think, mr. chairman, that is a major problem that i think we need to address. thank you for being here, mr. gore, and respond fog my questions. yield back. >> gentleman yields back. >> will the chairman accept an inquiry. >> pardon me. >> would the chairman entertain an inquiry. >> sure. >> it has been asserted that the department of justice has a long-standing policy not to cooperate with respect to
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delivering documents including deliberative process. is it an accurate recollection by this member that like when we conducts the fast and furious investigation we received many documents that reflected the deliberative process of the department of justice at the department of justice cooperated were the provision of some documents and there fliss fact precedent. >> the gentleman's point is well-taken. in fact the ranking member and i were just discussing yesterday the relativism that sometimes exists. and how we investigate matters and how we view privileges and how we handle ongoing litigation, ongoing inspector general investigations. what i can tell my friend from virginia is while i am happy to make a department of justice witness appear, i cannot make that witness talk. you can get jack beau tower
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preside over the hearing and perhaps he could but i have no power to get people talk or present documents. >> the series it was long standing department of justice policy fliss fact not crequement we have an example, major example in this committee with the previous administration of the very opposite. of what has been asserted by the witness. >> any friend from virginia hat bus his finger on something that exists on both sides of the compile has exist node matter which administration happens to be in power. i'm not fan of relativism, no matter where it manifests itself. >> i thank the chair. >> the gentle lady from new york is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i'd like to follow up on the questions of ranking member college cummings. mr. gore you refusal not to anxious the question of ranking
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members cummings, i find and i believe my colleagues find unacceptable. we conduct parallel investigations all the time. every day we conduct them. if we had to shut down our investigations every time a federal agency got sued, we might as well out just resign and leave because investigations take place every single day, and we are sued every single day. you are supposed to be here last week, and with all due respect i do not understand why you refused to be here but you're here today, and at the very least you should answer questions, and i'd like to begin by referencing what happened on may 16th, just two days ago. tom brunelly, president trump's first choice to be the census
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director gave an interview and in that interview he said the administration's decision to add this citizenship question was based on politics, not on science, not on best practices, but he said, based on politics, and i quote: they have made a political decision. and they have every right to do that. because they won the election. end quote. now, i find that appalling. he is basically admitting politicizing the census and contradict this wording of our constitution that says every person should be counted. so, mr. gore, i want to know everyone who had a role with you in this deliberation and this decision, both inside the department of justice and
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outside of the department of justice. >> thank you for your question, congresswoman. let -- >> will you give us the name toys. >> let me rid rat what i said, i accepted the committee's invitation to appear last week and it was only after the committee added a nongovernment witness to the panel and denied the accommodation that the department of justice requested, that the department made the decision that i would not appear last week and i'm happy to be here today and answer your questions. let me speak to the issue out mr. brunel, he is not a member of the department of justice, not a government official, down speak authorize depth after justice or the civil rights division and doesn't speak for me. don't know where he is drawing that conclusion from. i don't know what information he could possibly have as someone who is not involved in the decision, and is not at the
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department of justice. the department -- >> did you communicate with their blue nell on the issue. >> no. >> did you or anyone else at the department communicate with anyone, political organization, such as the rnc, the redistrict commissiony, he trump campaign, anyone else? who else did you consult on this decision? >> i can tell you, congresswoman, i done consult with any of those organizations. i can't speak for other people. they'll have to speak for themselves. and in terms of people i may or may not have consulted with, within the department of justice or went the executive branch, my-and-the same. those conversations and deliberations and decisionmaking are things i'm not in a position to comment about today, both as matter of department practice and policy and because there's pending litigation -- >> are you, mr. gore, asserting a a constitutional privilege today. >> ire knock authorized to
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assert -- >> you asserting the fifth amendment or executive privilege. >> no basis to assert the fifth amendment. i've done nothing that would put me in criminal jeopardies, nothing awful or ill school and the implying indication i would is baseless. >> thank you very much. since you're not answering any questions, i'd like to thank the chairman for bringing him here today, bus i'd like to quote the chairman's statement that he can bring him here, but he can't get him to answer in any questions. so mr. chairman, i have motion and with all due respect, i should have done this last week, i plan to formally offary motion under the rules, give my statement, and seek a vote and this motion is in order, and i would say that the key issue for the meeting today is the trump administration's sudden decision to add a new citizenship question to the census,
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untested, and at the last minute. this decision was made at the request of the justice department. they sent a letter in december claiming they needed this data enforce the voting rights act, but this data has never been needed since the act was passed in 1965. according to documents retrade the freedom of information act, this request made at the request of leadership, working with john gore, our witness today, and i would ask unanimous consent to place these documents into the record. >> without objection on the placing of documents in the record. >> so mr. gore, is the act healed of the yates department's self rights -- justice department ahead of the self rights division of the trump administration. you are the acting head of the department of civil rights division, but i don't know of
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any record of yours in this area, but i do know of the record where you defend republican state redistricting plans including one dismissed for racial gerrymandering. he also defended a voter purging effort that violated the national voter registration act, and on may 8, chairman gowdy sent a letter inviting mr. gore testify but he failed to appear last week, and at that hearing i had a motion to subpoena are in gore. instead the chairman recessed he hearing, resumed it today, and brought mr. gore in to answer our questions. the problem is, mr. gore is not answering our questions. right now, mr. gore is here voluntarily so he is not legally compelled to answer any of our questions. so i move that the committee broken mr. gore right now, like we should have last week.
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we have a process, mr. chairman, you may not want to issue the subpoena but our committee has a authority under the rules to vote on a subpoena to compel mr. gore answer our questions today, not tomorrow, not next week, but today. and mr. goal, then would be required either answer our questions or assert valid constitutional privilege. if mr. gore continues to refuse answer our questions or asserts a president that is not valid, this committee could hold them in contempt. so i want to make one thing clear. we are not asking you one word about litigation. we are not asking you about any of your briefs or anything that your department is involved in, you're motions, your attorneys, or the work they are doing. we are asking about the underlying facts, and we have
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every right to ask about them. it's our responsibility to ask and we have an independent responsibility to investigate and that is what we need to do today. these underlying facts already exist. congress and the american public deserve to know them. and there is absolutely no legitimate reason for you to keep silent about them. congress handles parallel investigations all the time, and this is no different. this is a parallel investigation. our oversight responsibilities to got a in cease to exist because somebody sues the government. the government is suedes multiple times every single day. for all of these rains hereby move to subpoena john m. gore, the acting assistant attorney general of the civil rights division at the department of
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justice. >> i second the motion. >> i make this motion pursuant to house rule 11, clause 2, k6. we have spoken to parliamentarian's offers and this motion is in order. spoke with. the myself. a written copy of my motion and the subpoena is at the clerk's offers, and i ask that the chairman dispose of this motion right now, so we can start getting answers to our questions. >> on the motion. >> reserving a point outfield order. for all purposes this gentleman from alabama seeking recognition. >> i move to table the motion and pends that, note the absence of a quorum. >> gentleman is correct, quorum is not present. the motion are held in abeyance until sufficient quorum is present. out of respect for the witness, we should proceed with the hearing until that time. >> on a point of order, mr. chairman. >> gentleman state his point of
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order. >> the subpoena that is subject to the motion to table -- would that include a request for documents as well as a subpoena for the person? >> i don't believe so but since it's not my motion, i might defer -- >> i have copy here but it's blank. >> i think it is a subpoena for personal attendance as od to one for documents but given the fact it was not my motion, inning reluctant to speak to it at length. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the gentleman yield to me? thank you, with all due respect, mr. chairman, we have a number of members here. we are would like to have our questions answered and to delay there is to table it to postpone it, it makes absolutes flow sense. why are we asking questions when the witness has already told us he's not going to answer any of them. so, it seems like we should
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address the subpoena, it's ready to go. we talked about it last week. you said you'd get him in. it's in. it's not your fault but he is refusing to answer questions. so a it seems like it's very appropriate the should move forward with the subpoena do we can get answers to the questions. you to the this census is really the only real -- it's a requirement, it's written right in the constitution that the executive branch must conduct it every ten years. it's very serious issue. it is the basis of our democracy, our representation, it makes the decision on the distribution of really over i'd say $700 million in federal funds every year. it's a verdict, very critical issue. and we deserve to have our answers today and i respectfully request that the chairman move forward with the subpoena
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request. >> i yield back. >> i will address the gentle lady i have allowed lower to exceed the five minuted of it's an important point but nonetheless aorism is not present. so until a quorum is present, continue to ask whatever questions he is able to answer. with that i would recognize -- i'll recognize my -- the gentleman from virginia, mr. connellly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would say say i respect to the motion to table the motion for subpoena, you will significantly cloud the legacy of this committee in asserting the principle of accountability and the separate but coequal branch
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of government role. i sat here and watched the fifth amendment rights of lois lerner be tramped upon. warmed the same committee want to sensor the attorney general of the united states because of their perceived view of lack of cooperation. but apparently it's a whole different set of rules if it's a different administration that happens to to be of your party. i just think that's a very sad day for this committee. mr. gore, let's stipulate you have respect nor committee and let's just talk theoretically but process. i won't ask you questions about your deliberatetive process or questions about the topic you refuse to turbot. you indicated that it was
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indicate what at exitment on the department of justice do see the law we passed were vigorously enforce. is that correct? >> yes, congressman. thank you for yourey -- >> no, note that's right all right. i'll stipulate you are grateful for our questions. would you concede, of course we have an equal interest in the vigorous enforce. of those laws. >> yes. >> yes. so, within reason we have a right as a coequal branch of government to inquire as to your efforts to vigorously enforce the law. is that not fair? >> yes. >> and is it your position that the department of justice ewan unilaterally can debts -- decide when to cooperate with the coequal branch of the government in the oversaying responsibilities. >> i don't believe i said --
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>> i'm trying to extend the logic of your assertion but what yaw will and will not testify. to. i'm probing that, where the hims on is? in this case you argue in a novel way that litigation is such a barrier, pending litigation on the matter precludes your ability to cooperate with us on our oversight of the vigorous enforce. of a particular law. it that not correct? isn't that your san diego. >> what i said is to i consistent with the department poll di -- >> we'll stipulate that your assertion of consistency. i'm trying to understand the principle behind it. you're asserting the department of justice gets to make rules with respect to your cooperation on the -- our legitimate constitutional oversight role who one limitation is pending litigation.
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>> pending litigation is a limitation in these circumstances other, limitations include the need for the department of justice to facilitate open and robust discussion before decisions are made. for that reason, the department is not talk about deliberations or privileged conversations that might happen in an attorney-client context. >> are in gore, if we decide we don't agree with you, if the congress decided your assertion is an encroach. on our ability to functional'll any in our oversaying responsibility, what remedy do you understand we have to dispute and to seek adjudication of that knives. >> congress, i'm november studied the issue and i cannot take a position on that on behalf of the department of justice. >> it is our ability to issue a subpoena, is it not?
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we could subpoena you. >> my understanding the committee has subpoena authority. >> what is your understanding of the penalties that flow from noncooperation with a subpoena issued by the united states congress. >> i've not studied the issue and so i don't have a view one way or the other what the penalties are that are either prodescribed buy law or appropriate and i can't edge gauge in a hypothetical. >> it's not hypothetical. it's a matter of law, mr. gore. >> certainly what penalty wood be appropriate in any particular case -- >> you could be held in contempt. you could be held in contempt of congress, do you not. >> be personally. >> yes. >> i'm not currently nature subpoena. >> i understand -- >> aware -- >> mr. gore, let's not play games. i said, one of the remedies available to us is a bone. you agreed with that. >> i do. >> if you did not cooperation
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with that it subpoena -- i began by saying we'll have a hypothetical conversation because you don't want to talk but through specifics. so i hypothetically, congress could hold you in contempt if you did not comply with the subpoena. is that knock correct as matter of law. >> this -- >> i believe that's create as ameter of law and i'd be happy to talk but specifics of the department of's letter or other publicly available information and i've answered several questions -- >> you have barely answered any questions, mr. gore. >> i haven't answered very men questions but publicly available information -- >> because the congress can decide what level of injury and layers of injury inquiry it decides and we can decide whether we can compel your cooperation and that's what wore about to debate, i hope. your lack of cooperation is very concerning because the census is
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actually stipulated in the constitution of the united states, and i -- at least hopefully you and i would agree on this. that the need full cooks with the census to get a full picture of the country and order to fairly adjudicate issues like representation in the congress, allocation of federal funding for program. s. a lot is at stake. >> i agree with that. >> we do have legitimate cause to be concerned on a bipartisan basis about how the census is conducted and whether any additions additions additions or subtractions asked in the census could affect cooperation with a census, both in cost and in accuracy, is that not a fair concern. >> the gentleman's time is expired to the extent the question is asked you may answer
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it. >> does congress has an important oversight role. >> the gentleman -- >> gentleman from virginia yields back them gentleman from arizona is recognized. >> mr. gore, does the department of justice and civil rights division have a memorandum of understanding with the census bureau and at the department of norse receive this data? >> that is a good question. i don't know the answer to it. >> are we able to get those -- that outline at mou? >> again, congressman, i don't know whether an mou governors that relationship or some other provision of law. i don't know. >> would you submit that to us once you fine out? >> i can't make that commitment today because i don't know what i is. >> in eye privacy oar restricts indicate hogue the dat may or may not be used. >> there are all kind restrictions on how the census data is used.
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and that is a message that's been consistent from the department of commerce and she census bureau throughout its decision do reinstate the question on the 2020 census. the congress has enacted laws to prohibits the disclosure of individual responses to the census so we would not see that information could not be used in immigration enforcement proceeding by the department of justice or nye department. the only data made available to us ising a degree gait statistical data covering census blocks. individual responses are not provide to us. they're kept confidential by the census bureau and every employee who sees them agree's to a nondisclosure agreement and can't disclose the responses for the rest or their lives. >> that's an important point. so i'll ask that question again so you can repeat that so everybody can hear that. any questions in regards to citizenship that is answered in
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regards to the census could it be used by any law enforcement eight or judicial proceedingie the government. >> could not be used mitchell understanding of the law it could not be used in immigration and don'ters. proceed ago, could not be used dish believe those -- it's my understanding understanding the individual responses stay at the census bureau. i know what we receive in the several rights division is onlye individual response at the census bureau is only statistical data and those individual responses are protected by law, confidentiality and privacy of individual responses is protected by an act of congress. >> can't be used, legal proceeding. >> can't be used in immigration enforcement proceeding. >> let me quote ken paxton, atty. gen. of texas. knowing the number of citizens in any district will reduce murder, fraud. by helping of eligible voters
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in the district. 350,000 turnout in an election. we know there's a problem. would you say voter fraud have occurred more voter cast been eligible voters. >> if you had accurate data under eligible voters and registered voters, and thehe number of votes cast, if it exceeded the number available and registered voters. >> >> what you say voter fraud has occurred. let me restate that. the civil rights division tally the number of votes compared to eligible voters in the same
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precinct. what states comply with the natural voter registration act for voter registration and removing voters who become ineligible from the rolls so we have one occasion looked at tht aggregate data. >> do you know the difference between a census block group and a census block? >> generally yes. >> can you explain a little bit? >> census block is the smallest unit of geography the census bureau collects data for, the size of urban or suburban block, it can be one apartment building or collection of homes and the census block group is an aggregation of census blocks. on average is 39 census blocksn is block group but it can be fewer than that or more than that. a census block group is a larger area of geography, several census blocks are put together for a census track. >> my last question i will
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reiterate, will responses to the 20/20 census question or citizenship be used by the department of justice or any law enforcement agency or any judicial proceeding against the response. >> my understanding is those individual responses cannot be used in any immigration enforcement proceeding. the individual response is not very probative, millions of hard-working immigrants who are noncitizens who entered legally. and pursuing the american dream through work, school, family, and to get the individual which the permit of education cannot because it is protected from disclosure. >> i yelledk. back.
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>> the gentleman is recognized. >> let's get into the questions real quick. the department of justice express the need for citizenship data with the census bureau with the content review? >> not sure when the census bureau last conducted a content review. >> that was a no. it was last spring and it drafted in november. let's move on. it needs citizenship data, the voting rights act was and acted. >> 1965. >> 53 years ago. in the 1970, 80, 90, 2000, 2010
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census. short form, not the long form or community survey. >> it was not included in short form that was included in ou longform. >> thank you. the answer was no. since the enactment of the voting rights act, the doj has not deemed it critical on the short form, the entirety of the census. why did the doj make this request in previous years? what urgent reasons arose between 2015, and 2017 that required a last-minute change? >> thank you for your question. i was not at the department of justice in that prior timeframe so i can't speak to why or why not certain decisions were made at the time. the letter the department sent to the census bureau laid out the position of the apartment of justice today and why census data would be more suitable and appropriate for section 2
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enforcement. there is no dispute that the department of justice needs citizenship data to enforce section 2 or that it needs the data at the block level and our letter explains why hard count census data is better suited for that purpose than the acs. it is available at m the block level. >> the point is not having that data did not undermine any lawsuit brought by the department of justice in the voting rights act. if you didn't really need it to uphold, nobody said you didn't have the citizenship data at the block level, so your argument is weak and no one ever said that. would that the promise of justice mission be compromised of the citizenshipot question were not added to the 2020
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census. >> i can say we are making do with available data, the acs estimates and extrapolations to f in addition to other data. the department of justice -- >> can you answer the question real quick, with the mission be compromised if citizenship questions were not added? i will reclaim my time. i'm running out of time. would be doj be unable to enforce the voting rights act without the data? > without accurate citizensp data yes. we have made do with what is available. >> so the a doj has not been ae to an act of voting rights act for the past 53 years? that is what you're telling me? >> that is not what i said. >> that was the question. would be doj be unable to enforce the voting rights act without this data? that is the question. the answer is no because you have been doing it for 53 years so let's move on. i only have a minute left. atty. gen. sessions in april
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testified before the senate regarding the citizenship question during his public testimony, he said people don't have to answer it. that is a reasonable thing. concerns are overblown. is the atty. gen. encouraging people not to respond to the st census for the citizenship question? >> perhaps what the atty. gen. was referring to is the fact the census bureau will count incomplete census questionnaires in the totally numeration. if for some reason the person filling out the questionnaire --t a >> thank you, appreciate that. real quick, the steubenville are contacted the department of justice about adding a citizenship question, do you have any emails, phone records, letters, communications with stephen miller from the white house? >> again, i am not going to get into any department communications or deliberations that may have happened in the executive branch. >> thank you, mr. gore.
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>> the gentleman yields back a gentleman from michigan is recognized. >> thanks for being here today. unfortunately sometimes it degenerates rather than asking questions, the witness has become a piƱata to make a political point and today is an example of that. i the importance of the census, people are comfortable answering questions their privacy is f protected and don feel vulnerable, otherwise it is a faulty let me ask about privacy. when was the last time the department of justice brought a case against someone unlawfully disclosing information of dn privacy laws in title 13? did we call the last time? >> i don't know. >> you don't recall cases where privacy has been violated? >> i don't know of any. >> what are the penalties against people found guilty of
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violating title 13 privacy laws? >> i have not studied the issue or i don't know what those penalties are. >> the department of justice ever brought a case against someone failing to complete the center they return it? >> i don't know, i don't know of any recent case in that regard. >> looking forward to the 2020 census, is there a plan for individual census forms? >> i -- any enforcement would not happen by the civil rights division. i can't speak to whether there is one or not. >> a question returns it, what happens?ea >> that was the question i was answering before. the census bureau count incomplete questionnaires. if the question is left blank or the answer is unintelligible
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the census bureau still counts that information on the questionnaire. >> i ask again because i'm not sure you had a fairr opportuniy to answer it which is why i repeat the question. i have done a terrible thing, i left questions blank in the census and no one knocked on my door. i didn't get a letter saying why did you do such a terrible thing so i appreciate your being here. i don't have anything more. >> with the gentleman yield his remaining time? >> the gentleman from massachusetts recognized. mr. lynch. >> mr. gore, obviously the spirit in which we brought you here was pursuant to congressional inquiry. the right of congress to making quarries and investigations
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into the executive branch is a constitutional protection for the american people. and it is hostile to the protection of the rights of the american people. united states supreme court has held in multiple cases, and and because of an ongoing litigation or some distinct proceeding. this is round one. this is round one. the american people on this basis as well as others will demand full exercise of their rights to be protected by
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congress. is there any basis in law in which you believe you have been instructed that would prohibit you from participating and cooperating in this hearing? >> thank you for the question. i have cooperated q and participated in this hearing, i just answered several questions and i'm happy to speak to any questions about public information. >> i will repeat the question you dodged earlier. who came up with this decision to add the question to the census? >> the letter the department sent represents the department's final decision, statement of position with respect to this issue similar
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to how congressional staff works you facilitate robust and open conversation with your staff and decisions are made through an open and fair process at that is what we do with the department of justice as well. the decision comes from a member and we are asking you don't just push it off on how the staff came up with this idea. someone with authority in a trump administration came up with this decision. you are very embarrassed by it because no one wants to take credit for it. there has been nothing but obfuscation from the administration including your self when we ask this question. we don't have the power to prosecute. we have the power to ask questions. >> the department of justice clearly in the letter white was restricting the information. and -- >> atty. gen. sessions, it
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represents the view of the department. part of the answer -- it was made in consultation withul appropriate stakeholders that i'm happy to talk about, that is not particularly earth shattering, it stands on that view, the letter was sent to the census bureau and the promise of commerce. i understand from publicly available information the secretary of commerce, sec. ross took a hard look at the request, did an analysis of the various options how to provide block level citizenship data to the department of justice for law enforcement work. >> is that how the decision was made? >> mr. chairman, we need the support of the chair to get to the basis of this decision,
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important to the american people, and to support this reasonable request for members of this committee. and support issuance of the subpoena. >> i want to acknowledge -- want to admonish you for not appearing at the previous hearing. that was an error that likens back really, harkens back to the last administration that showed a level of disrespect to the department of justice. much of that continues today in the department of justicee whee in case after case, not getting in a timely fashion, the highest classification is used
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an excuse. and that the part of justice -- it is embarrassing. the last atty. gen. before last claimed a privilege and turned out to be text back and forth to his wife. i hope this is the last time wh have two hearings to get one hearing. join with mythat i colleagues, to find out the purpose of civil rights compliance, how many people are eligible to v vote in a particular block, particular congressional district. a few months ago approaching a year ago, a father of several children, one of them already over 21 arrested as he tried to
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enter camp pendleton and a job he had been at for more than a decade and was a supervisor. he was apprehended because he was a documented and falsified documents related to getting on the base. it was a sad situation. he had been here since 1989. when i tried to do what i could for the family as we often do in casework i went to the voter rolls. i found him, i found his wife and i found one adult child. the adult child was born in the united states. the wife was not a legal resident and entered illegally in 1991. he had entered illegally in 1989. they were both registered voters and i will tell you it appears they never voted but in california, without a doubt, there are tens or even hundreds of thousands of people who do
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not want to say no i don't want to be registered to vote because they were afraid that would tip off that they are undocumented. i am going to ask you if not for a census where my democratic colleagues if they operate in good faith and republicans if they operate in good faith would echo what you said earlier which is this information is never disclosed, it is used only for the statistical purposes in aggregate. if not for your census question, wouldn't we have the same situation in california where the number of registered voters is eligible to vote or for others to vote on their behalf, could in fact lead to a different outcome in an election? >> thank you for your r questi. let me just address the issue i already addressedhe in my openg statement which was the department explanation for why i didn't appear at the hearing last week.
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nongovernment witness was included on the panel. >> that is in fact the decision this committee has, over the years, pushed back. we had negotiations and the chairman is a good negotiator, we could potentiallyve have a second panel but it is not for the department of justice to simply say we are showing up if we don't get what we want. the last administration in some cases objected to somebody because even though they were in the government they were not in the right level so i don't accept that as a former chair of this committee, i don't accept that and i hope you take that back to your higher ups that there are better ways to resolve it with this committee and the very reasonable chairman than to simply not show up. but go ahead with your answer. >> thank you, congressman. the issue you raised i have not study the issue of voter rolls in california. >> let me give you a brief one. with remaining time. california has no documentation whatsoever, a person shows up and get a drivers license, they do notat have to prove they ara
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resident or citizen and the default is the end up being registered voters. ourr voting system has no idea if you show up in a poll you cannot be asked to show id and if you try to show it they make you put it away. please continue how this would impact elections if you have tens of thousands of people registered that are not citizens but afraid to say so because it is not like the census is not secret. >> if there are large numbers of ineligible persons casting ballots at the polls, that could have an effect on the outcome. there are plenty of examples of postelection throughout american history that could have turned on the difference. >> thank you, the chairman yields back. the gentle lady from michigan is recognized. from michigan is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair.
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in the 11 months the bureau has not had a permanent director the administration continued placing a partisan redistricting expert, thomas brunel at the helm. mr. brunel himself recently admitted this census is being politicized, in an interview with science magazine they have made a political decision and have every right to do that because they won the election. donald trump has been campaigning on the addiction of the citizenship question and ads sentnt by his campaign to supporters reads, quote, donald trump ordered the 2020 united states census, ask people living in america, whether they
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are citizens but now the sanctuary state s of californi is suing him, time to fight back. this seems to me than a political decision, and ask again who in leadership are his request, the atty. gen. sessions, who specifically was it? >> i can't get into the specifics of the deliberation, i can confirm the letter represents the position of the department and all decision-makers signed off on the decision including the atty. gen. to get to the premise of your question about mr. brunel i don't think anyone has talked to him about it, i haven't.
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he is a private citizen, he is not a member of the thomas of justice, doesn't speak for the permit of justice, not a member of the admin station and doesn't speak for the said ministration, i have no idea where he gets his information or how he is drying his conclusion what was the motivation for the request -- >> it seems from your answer that you don't know where he gets this information. and where k your guidance is coming from. i got a random letter, i don't know who makes decisions, it just kind of happens. you just throw things in and you have soup. >> the department of justice by long-standing policy does not
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discuss internal deliberations or decision-making. i said a couple times the attye gen. signed off on the decision, speaking to the campaign email, i had no communication with the campaign regarding this or any other matter so i can't speak to them. >> mr. gore, will you confirm today the permit of justice will follow the law in abiding by the protections provided by title 13, and complying with prohibiting against sharing this requirement, will you be on the record today under oath saying the department of justice will follow the law? >> yes. >> so in any case, i will say this to our chair, i will let you know that the american arab
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association in my community has stated many of the members of the arab-american organization would undoubtedly refuse participation in the census primarily out of fear and suspicion that by answering the citizenship question they will be singled out. i am saying to the chair and this body, mr. gore, it is not good enough to make a decision and go forward when you know the consequences of it. you can say you don't know how you got here but now that this is being proposed it needs to be addressed. we have tried repeatedly to make you understand the constituents of this country who the department of justice works for, you are here because of the taxpayers paying your salary, you need to listen to the people and this question, i
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will repeat again, is not one that is serving the objective and outcomes that we need for a census count in our country. i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back. if i understand the argument correctly, the asking and answering of this question helps the department enforce en the voting rights act. >> that is correct. >> how has failure to ask this question in the past hampered those efforts? >> it is undisputed we need citizen voting age population data to enforce the voting rights act in certain cases and we need it at the block level. we have been making do with other sources of information ts extrapolate to the block level what the citizenship rate would be in a particular area. we get total population and racial data from the census so we have that information
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already but we have to make an educated guess about what the citizenship rate is at the block level and having it on the census would make it easier for us to use and it would make it more accurate for the judgment of the census bureau. i'm aware of one case brought by a privateur plaintiff in the northern district of texas where the plaintiff wanted to rely solely on the acs estimates to prove the citizenship rate but the geographic area was too small for the estimate to be reliable so the court through that case out and said this data was a 1-year estimate and the area was 265,000 people in the census bureau says if that small size of the population is not reliable or, ate least a 1-year estimate. that voting rights act was thrown out by the district court. we want to avoid that fact,
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every voting rights act, our mandate from congress and that is what we would like to do so particularly when you deal with smaller geographic areas and smaller numbers of people the acs estimates are not sufficiently reliable. at leastea in that case not sufficiently reliable. >> that is why i foreshadowed my questions, trying to trick anybody or surprise anyone. i do think n it is relevant whether or not past litigation is impacted by failure to include this information to you cited a case in texas. are there other instances this information would have held court or any other deciding tribunal litigating voting rights cases? >> i'm not aware of any cases filed in which that made a difference and i will say again the other rationale is the census data is easier to use because it is always in the right format, we would not have
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to run any extrapolations to get down to the block level. it would come as the same data set across the country to draw maps which is the census data they received to comply with equal population requirements of the constitution. >> let me ask a broader question. who gets to decidea whether a question is legitimate to include on a census form? >> congressman, i believe congress left that decision to the secretary of commerce. if i understand the statute correctly. i'm not an expert in that. i can't speak for secretary ross. >> what with the standard of review be? >> very good question, one that is at the heart of the tth litigation. i don't know the answer to the question of the litigation will largely be about that question. >> if secretary ross wanted to include a question what is your favorite movie, how would a court determine whether or not that was inappropriate n? question? what i'm getting at is what is
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the standard by which you judge legitimacy of the inclusion or exclusion of the question on the census form? >> very good question, that is better directed to the commercm department which i'm not involved in litigation. >> but you are a lawyer and you are familiar with different standards of review and whether or not it is abuse of discretion, whether or not you need to have reasonable public interest, whether you have to have a compelling public interest, you are familiar with all that. >> i'm familiar with all that. i don't know how it intersects with this particular case. if i said that matters in litigation and those are questions that will be presented in litigation and it would be inappropriate for me to speculate or comment on that today since the department's representative in that litigation. >> will you yield for split-second? >> i'm trying to figure out what is split-second is but
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yes. happy to if you could keep to that split-second. >> just to follow up, mr. gore answered to your question regarding the citizenship data, said that the department of justice is making do with the data they are getting but when he answered my question he said they can't enforce the voting rights act without citizenship data at the block level. can you -- it seems contradictory to me. >> let me see if i can help you out. to the extent that there is any ambiguity in your answer to ou those questions would you like an opportunity to synchronize your answer? >> i would like that opportunity, thank you, congressman gomez, for raising the opportunity for me. when citizenship rights are issue we need data at the census block level. we are currentlyat making do wh data from the acs which isn't at the census block level but we use extrapolations to make an estimate what is going on at
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the census block level. we need that at the census block level. we are making do with currently available data for estimates of what is going on at the census block level, or registration data or something else. our letter lays out why the census data would be more appropriate for that function because it is a hard count to use and the census bureau believes it would be more accurate. >> i'm going to harmonize different perspectives of my colleagues. when something is done for a while and then not done it raises questions and people want to know why was the question removed and when it is reasserted they want to know how the exclusion of the question adversely affects you. i'm not giving you litigation, you would be crazy to take it from me but in terms of practical advice to answer questions from congress that is
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what folks are wondering. and the changing, do you have to assert that it helps you enforce the voting rights act to include the question or should you just include the question because you felt like it and if our position is if the government's position is it helps us enforce the voting rights act it would be helpful to point to specific instances where failure to have that information may have hamper your efforts to enforce it. >> i'm happy to provide a response to that. as i said, we made a case why census data would be more appropriate for enforcement of the voting rights act through simplicity of its use and greater accuracy than acs estimates and extrapolation. there was a case brought by private plaintiffs unable to
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prove their pending litigation. >> before we vote i will the ranking member ask one question. i want to thank my colleagues for coming to an unexpected vote on a busy morning so as soon as mr. cummings asks the question we will move to the vote and i appreciate it. >> the chairman asked very good questions. it is based on the voting rights act but i want your
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opinion on this. doj has not filed a single voting rights action to an entire tenure of the trump administration. atty. gen. jeff sessions has called the voting rights act, quote, intrusive. during the trump administration, doj reversed its position, one on gerrymandering in texas, one pertaining to a voter id law in texas in ohio all in favor of voter suppression efforts. doj updated the manual for racial gerrymandering, donald trump routinely and falsely accused millions of legitimate voters of committing voter fraud and voting illegally for secretary clinton, donald trump established a commission in january to try to identify evidence to support his false claim that millions of citizens voted illegally and donald trump selected as chairman of
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his new commission, held in contempt last month for failing to inform voters of eligibility to register after a law requiring proof of citizenship. some of us might be skeptical when folks say they are doing this so people like my mother who years ago could not vote and even today, do you understand why we might be skeptical? >> i understand where you are coming from. if i might have a moment to ue respond to your question, there are several things in your question that are not accurate and i want to o correct those behalf of the department so that you and the entire committee and congress and the american public understand what
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is going on. we filed the voting rights action is mentioned in my opening statement, involving the state of arizona to protect the voting rights of military january 2017 and our enforcement efforts under section 2 are completely in line with enforcement efforts of the obama administration.nd in his first four your term in office the obama administration filed one case under section 2 of the voting rights act in early 2009 meaning the investigation had been conducted under the bush administration, filed a section 2 case in c2010, 2011 or 2012. it increased the number slightly in the second term. in 2013 file three cases, none in 2014, none in 2015, none in 2016 and one on its way out the door in january 2017 which we
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continue to litigate on behalf of the united states. the amount of section 2 t activity we have is completely in line with what the obama justice department did, 6 years in which it was in office the, never filed a section 2 case. moreover, it had an opportunity to do so because every state was required tore redistrict after the 2010 recensus. the question about gerrymandering was a change that was suggested by the career prosecutors and is of a rights division become that provision is subsumed in another provision within the us attorney manual and an w effor to simplify and streamline at manual, represents no change in policy or practice by the department of justice. is the deputy attorney general explains publicly, we participated in racial gerrymandering case in the supreme court in april. we also have not changed position in three voting rights cases. one case in which the department changed position in that case is currently pending peat the united states
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supreme court. the other cases you are referring to our two cases out of texas and in those cases the department didn't change its position, texas changed its t law. texas changed its voter id law to address the defect alleged in the case, passing a new statute to do so and in fact that statute largely tracked the district court's interim remedy putut in place for the 2016 election and 9 million texans voted and there was no suggestion and no evidence brought to the court that the voter id law resulted in any vote suppression. three weeks ago the fifth circuit court of appeals agreed that law was sufficient to remedy the defects and overturned judgment of the district court. he referred to the texas redistricting case, texas adoptedd t a new districting p, they have not taken a position on that plan and what we argued to the court was congressional district 35 represented by congressman dogit, as i said
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before a i have not communicat with mr., we had no complication on this or any other issue and i appreciate where you're i coming from and hope i have provided some facts that will help you understand where we're coming from and as we try our best in the government of justice and civil rights division to carry out all the laws congress has enacted and force them to the best of our ability we will continue to do soct because th is our mission, our charge from this congress and we take seriously that responsibility and it is my honor to serve in this capacity for some time with hard-working career professionals in the civil rights division. >> the gentleman from maryland yields back. any consideration for the gentleman from alabama's motion, the gentle lady from new york, those in favor signify by saying i. all those opposed signify by saying no. the opinion of the chair, the eyes have it.
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the voting requested clerk will call the roll. >> [rollcall vote] [rollcall vote] [rollcall vote]
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[rollcall vote] [rollcall vote]
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[rollcall vote] >> clerk will report. >> 22 is, 15 nos. >> motion passes. we went to thank members on both sides for coming and we will resume with questioning the witness until votes are
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called. give me one second. the gentleman from illinois recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning, mr. gore. many individual citizens and noncitizens including legal permanent residents are fearful about giving their personal data to the government particularly in the current political climate. these fears were escalated by the doj's request to include the citizenship question on the 2020 census. that is why i think it is so critical today for us to remind individuals the title 13 protects the confidentiality of their census responses and prohibits the government from3 sharing the data with other government agencies. will you confirm today that the department of justice will follow the law abiding by the
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protection accorded title 13 comply with prohibition against sharing census responses. >> i can confirm that. i want to reiterate what i said before, and we think no one should have fear in responding to the census questionnaire or citizenship question if it is included. the reason you layout, the responses protected by law, let me reiterate whether someone is a citizen or not doesn't tell you a lot about their immigration status. millions of hard-working americans who are noncitizens in the country illegally. >> the department of justice have no intention of obtaining confidential data or using it for any other purpose including sharing it with any federal law enforcement agency. >> i can tell you that with respect to this data or any
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other data that the balance of justice will abideti by all lel requirements. >> there's a possibility you may share the data with other federal agencies? >> what i am saying is i don't know what the parameters are of the restrictions on use of this data. whatever they are the department of justice will abide by them. i can't speak on behalf of the department because it is not one of my responsibilities to determine what happens with this data other than the data that is shared with me. i can say unequivocally, the department would comply with all legal requirements. >> you conceive of a situation where it may be legal to share this with other agencies? >> i can't conceive of that from the civil rights perspective, i don't know what goes on in the rest of the department and what the law is.
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the department of justice will follow the law. >> you don't know what the law is with regard to sharing of this data. >> there are prohibitions on sharing the data. i don't know how other entities in the department of justice deal with that issue so i can't speak on their behalf. all entities in the department of justice will follow the law and in the civil rights division we do not share that with other agencies. >> let me shift to another issue. any study analysis or projection, and affecting the response rate for the census. >> i don't know what the department of justice is aware of. the census bureau, the
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secretary of commerce problems, and in the balance set by the law, from sec. ross's memo, any empirical evidence to suggest the question would lead to reduction in response rate, the memo of decision he issued, i can't speak on his behalf. >> if evidence were brought to your attention that inclusion of the citizenship question would lower the response rate, how would you process that evidence as a member of the doj? >> as a member of the department of justice, whatever evidence was presented to the department of commerce was considered i can't speak on behalf of the department of commerce if that was brought to our attention. i would take a look at it. we are not the decision-maker whether decisions are included on the census questionnaire or not. >> thank you for saying you would take a look at it. we intend to present you with
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the evidence. isis the chief civil rights lawyer for the department of justice, if that evidence were to show disparate impact in how minorities were counted in the census, would you look at whether legal action with regard to the census? >> you may answer the question. >> we would take a look at it. i don't know if legal action would be warranted. i can't engage in a hypothetical whether it would be. >> thank you. >> the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. >> my colleagues in, funny, i don't think he finished his line of questions. >> i would like to pick up where i left offf because this is extremely important. in a republic, in a democracy, is in the sanctity of the vote perhaps the most important part
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of civil rights? that we have spent decades, more than a century going from denying people a vote because of their gender or their race to inferring -- ensuring all persons are eligible if they are citizens? >> absolutely. >> have you looked at other draft questions? i have. >> other than the first question, how many live in the house, is there another question as important to the republic as this one? >> that is a value judgment, reasonable minds can disagree. >> let me ask you a different need, constitutionally we all understand the census is required every 10 years to find out how many people are here. i dealt with this last week, the census people themselves.
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isn't it true there's only one question constitutionally mandated andnd all other questions are based on our country's believe that knowing this will advance the greater good? >> i think that is correct. i would deck out other questions are asked but the census remains totally numeration. the question about sex, people of all sexes are counted, there's a question about race, and citizenship, people of all citizenship status would be counted. >> you did a good question because we are asking if you are hispanic, no one is objecting from the democrat side but it goes into iomexica puerto rican, cuban, all the reasons you might be yes or no. it is not essential to know for constitutional purposes.
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relationship. how is the person related to you, if you answered you had multiple, questions are father, mother, opposite sex, unmarried, same-sex, adopted son, stepson. let me ask you. if you look at all the things that might cause someone to say i will throw this in the trash and mail it back, wouldn't asking somebody with their sexual relations are which that particular question leads to, aren't these all questions which could reduce turnout from the basic turnout of how many people are in this house, isn't that a risk we take with every question? >> it would be a risk whether it plays out with the
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department of commerce. >> the secretary has put e incredible time personally along with the undersecretary into this, and the initial question is what this part of the hearing is about. no one seems to care if you want to find out whether somebody is straight or gay. that is not controversial to my democrat friends and yet asking someone if they have a right to vote so you can determine what the maximum count would be in a particular precinct seems to be a problem. that which goes to the core of democracy seems to be a less important question than the question of gender preference. >> that is a good question, i can't answer but we have been wondering the same thing given the reaction to the quest the department of justice made.
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>> to make the history straight, this question was asked during franklin delano roosevelt's time and this is a historic question. this is in the communityn survey. the difference between having in the main census and the community survey which my colleagues don't object to would seem to be a volume, correct? >> i guess. >> the greater number of people ask a question and it tells me on penalty of everything terrible happening in my life i must answer it. last question. if we are getting more people answering the sameai question that has been asked in the community survey, isn't it that we simply get the ability to
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understand more clearly where and how many people should be eligible to vote and receive services of that sort? >> the gentleman's time is expired but you may answer the question. >> the gentleman from illinois recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. the law governing the addition of questions to the census says the secretary of commerce musti submit proposed subjects to congress to use before census day followed by the actual question two years before census day. that law also states if the secretary finds new circumstances exist which necessitate the types of information question contained in reports those submitted be modified. a report containing the determinationn of the subject, types of information or questions proposed to be modified must be submitted to congress. the secretary of commerce did not include a citizenship question in the subject somebody to congress in april 2017 but in april 2018
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just one year later he chose to add the citizenship question to specific questions submitted to congress. under the law in order to do that he must have encountered new circumstances necessitating the subject be modified. what are the new circumstances that necessitated this change? >> appreciate the question. i don't work for the department of commerce or the secretary of commerce, can't speak on their >> you have no idea why this occurred? >> basedcu on publicly availab information, the secretary of commerce took a look in response to the doj response for census block level citizenship data. beyond that i don't know what the thought process was because i don't work. can't speak on their behalf. >> what i just quoted from the law do you think he was in his
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purview to do that or do you think he followed the law? >> it would not be appropriate for me to answer that question because it is in litigation. >> the voting rights act has been in place since 1965, so has the census, that didn't change. you don't know the new circumstances. did the department of justice cite any evidence of voting rights cases, secretary ross necessitated the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. >> i don't know the circumstances or the thought process at the department of commerce or the census bureau. i didn't say i don't know what is going on in the department of justice's letter. letter laid out the reasons why we think the census data at the block level would be more appropriate for use in redistricting cases in the community survey estimate at extrapolation, it would be simpler to use, a hard count,
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it would align in time with the other census data restrictive o -- district is -- redistricting and the department of justice already use, the census bureau debarment of congress made a determination it wouldd be mor accurate. beyond that that was the evidence, that was the statement we made in our letter and the department of commerce, my understanding took a hard look at that and made the determination. >> seems the only circumstance that changed since 2017 is who is sitting in the oval office and that is not sufficient to allow a new and untested question to be added to the census. i yield back. >> agenda lady yields back, gentle lady from new york is recognized for unanimous consent for request. >> i request unanimous consent to placece in the record a statement from the fancy justice >> without objection. >> thank you. >> all members have had their
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questions answered to the extent you are able. the hearing will remain open for two weeks for any member to submit questions for the record. if there is no further business without objection the committee stands adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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now the full schedule for today is available at and reminder that you can also get behind the scenes videos and photos on social media. and our after words this weekend, barbara explore it is science how the body ages. she's interviewed by new york times science writer natalie.
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also this weekend former cia direct o michael hayden assesses the current threats to american security. we visit selma, alabama, to tour literary sites. rose mary gibson talks about the that's all this weekend on c-span2 television for serious readers, for a complete schedule visit now we will kick off this weekend with marketplace correspondence scott tom, he talked about china has changed since communist revolution in
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1949. >> sure. okay. >> hello, everybody. thank you all for coming out tonight. we are excited to welcome scott tong for his book a village with my name and excited to welcome charles freeman who we will be in conversation with him. scott tong has reported from more than a dozen countries of the correspondent of marketplace, currently he served as correspondent for marketplaces sustainability desk where his coverage focuses on energy and the environment, natural resources and the global economy. charles freeman is one of the


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