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DOJ won't prosecute ex-Commerce Secretary Ross for misleading Congress on census question

The Justice Department has declined to prosecute former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for misleading Congress on the Trump administration's push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Catch up quick: Ross had testified that the Trump administration wanted the addition due to a DOJ request for data so it could better enforce the Voting Rights Act. But internal records showed that Trump officials, including Ross, had planned to add the question long before the DOJ submitted its formal request in December 2017.


Why it matters: Civil rights activists and some census experts feared that adding the question would discourage immigrants from participating, which could then lead to an undercount with significant implications for redistricting and funding.

  • The Supreme Court ultimately blocked the Trump administration's move, calling Ross' Voting Rights Act reasoning "contrived."
  • Democrats also requested that Commerce Department Inspector General Peggy Gustafson investigate Ross on his characterization of the request.

What they're saying: Ross "misrepresented the full rationale" when he testified in Congress on two separate occasions in March 2018, according to Gustafson.

  • "During Congressional testimony, the then-Secretary stated his decision to reinstate the citizenship question was based solely on a DOJ request [from late 2017]," Gustafson wrote in a letter to Democratic lawmakers last week.
  • "However, evidence shows there were significant communications related to the citizenship question among the then-Secretary, his staff, and other government officials between March 2017 and September 2017, which was well before the DOJ request memorandum."
  • "Evidence also suggests the Department requested and played a part in drafting the DOJ memorandum," she noted.
  • After documents revealed in the legal case undermined his testimony, Ross sent a memo to the department clarifying his involvement in June 2018, Gustafson added.

The bottom line: The Public Integrity Section of the DOJ's Criminal Division declined to prosecute the case, Gustafson said.

Vaccine mandates are suddenly much more popular

State governments, private businesses and even part of the federal government are suddenly embracing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for their employees.

Why it matters: Vaccine mandates have been relatively uncommon in the U.S. But with vaccination rates stagnating and the Delta variant driving yet another wave of cases, there's been a new groundswell of support for such requirements.

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American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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