Earlier Friday, President Donald Trump said he was considering his options, which include a potential executive order or a supplement to the questionnaire that would allow the question to be added later. Such a move may require the administration to provide a new justification for the addition of the question after a Supreme Court judgment requiring a new justification.
The refugee from the Ministry of Justice would mean that the administration will face scary legal challenges and an unclear timeline. Judge George Hazel of Maryland had told the Ministry of Justice that if the administration refused to say finally that it would not add a citizen's question to the census, he would set up a schedule to hear new evidence over the next 45 days. A parallel procedure will also continue in New York.
"That's one of the ways – we have four or five ways we can do it," Trump told reporters earlier Friday on the white house lawn. "It is one of the ways we think about it very seriously."
Administration officials have privately cast skepticism over the possibility of one-sided executive actions, the route ahead being unclear. They point out that a notice or other kind of directive with an alternative justification will be banned in the next several weeks, which may further complicate and an already unclear timeline.
started his frustrations with his trade secretary before the Supreme Court's decision, believing that the issue had been mistreated from the outset. But in recent days he has been told allies that Ross let him go.
At this point, Ross doesn't seem to be dismissed, the two said. But in talking to advisers, Trump has told the Trade Department and the Ministry of Justice to "give up", according to the people.
He has said that all his options were not explored before the announcement earlier this week that printing would continue.
A legal adviser who has been involved in the discussions over the last few days with Trump's administration citizenship citizenship question that when the Ministry of Justice went forward earlier in the week to say it a citizenship issue would not be added to the census, got the department "for themselves". The source acknowledges that the White House was informed in some form of what DOJ lawyers would argue for, but said there was "adequate communication."
The President remains in contact with external advisers and is frustrated that DOJ seemed to be throwing in the towel and complained that Chief Justice John Roberts should be responsible for failure to get the census issue, not the president, according to the source. A continued legal effort, as the source claimed, could "force" Roberts to make a decision.
Trump has said publicly that asking state statistic states that their citizenship status should be a no-brainer. But opponents say it could hold minorities and immigrants, even those in the US legally, from taking the investigation. In turn, it could distort voting charts in favor of Republicans and reduce state aid programs for some communities.
Administration lawyers rushed Friday to prepare for an afternoon deadline to explain how they would continue to add the controversial issue of citizenship to the 2020 census.
Trump faces "limited opportunities", according to a person who is familiar with the case, which includes a potential executor order or adds the question as a supplement to the upcoming census forms that already printed.
Early Thursday, Trump tweeted that officials were working on the Independence Day to resolve the issue before 1 pm. A Friday court deadline to explain what the government is planning to do.
"The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Justice are working very hard on this, even on July 4!" the president wrote before leaving the White House for his Virginia golf club.
Trump's apparently blown-out tweet on Wednesday's reverse administration was a surprise to the state attorneys charged with arguing the case.  Originally, there was consensus among White House and other top administration officials on the position the Justice Department would take – that it would proceed to prepare the census without a line asking, "Is that person a citizen of the United States?"  But Trump changed after a hearing on Tuesday, according to a source familiar with discussions. Officials from bilingual officials, including law firm Bill Barr, became aware of the pivot before Trump tweeted about it, but lower attorneys at the Justice Department, including attorneys to be held in front of a federal judge in Maryland on Wednesday, were not aware of the shift.
The legal adviser who has been involved in the discussions with Trump administration officials told CNN, the chairman is obliged to show leadership on the issue and added "the president has announced that he wants to fight."  This story has been updated with further developments Friday.
CNN's Noah Gray contributed to this report.