Officials warned that Wilbur Ross' order shortening census schedule could make it seem politically manipulated

Census Bureau officials warned in mid-July that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' orders to end the 2020 census early risked producing a tally of "unacceptable quality" with "fatal flaws" that carries the stain of "politically-manipulated results."

The revelations are in an expansive set of internal Census Bureau and Commerce Department records produced Saturday by the Trump administration, which is defending in the courts its plan to end 2020 census counting on September 30, rather than October 31. A CNN review of nearly 15,000 pages of documents revealed previously unreported details from emails, memoranda, instant messages, presentations and briefings that show how the decision developed behind the scenes.

The officials -- top-ranking, career statistical professionals at the Census Bureau -- prepared to send their director before Congress on July 29 with a plea for more time. Even technological improvements, they wrote in his notes, "will not enable us to meet the statutory deadlines based on projected current field completion dates."