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EXCORIATES TRUMP FOR QUESTIONING OBAMA’S ELIGIBILITY, LIFE NARRATIVE, AND FOR RACISM
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 5, 2019) — On Monday, former White House Counsel Robert Bauer, also formerly of the law firm Perkins Coie, published a lengthy article at The Atlantic arguing that former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen last week made a compelling case that Donald Trump is both a “con man” and “a racist.”
The article is titled, “Michael Cohen Reminded Us Why Trump’s Birtherism Matters” and invokes Trump’s demand, voiced early in 2011, that the White House release proof that Obama was born in the United States and was therefore presumably eligible to the office of president, to demonstrate Trump’s alleged racism.
Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution requires that the president and commander-in-chief be a “natural born Citizen.” While much controversy has ensued over more than a century as to the exact meaning of the term as intended by the Framers, nearly all Americans understand that a person born outside the United States and later naturalized as a U.S. citizen cannot serve as president.
Some legal scholars go further, insisting that a birth on U.S. soil is not enough to qualify and that a candidate’s parents must have been U.S. citizens at the time of the child and future candidate’s birth. That view is supported by the 1875 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Minor v. Happersett wherein the majority opinion stated that it was “never doubted” that a person born in the country to U.S.-citizen parents is a “natural born Citizen.” As to other situations, the court wrote, “there have been doubts.”
Some reportage during Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign suggested he was “an immigrant” to the U.S. amid a myriad of contradictory reports as to his place of birth and citizenship status which were never reconciled.
For a number of years, and contrary to a number of credible news reports as well as a 1991 biography released by Obama’s first literary agent, Obama has claimed he was born in Honolulu, HI on August 4, 1961 at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. In the early stages of his 2008 presidential campaign, at least three sources reported him as having been born at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, with some later amending their reports to say he was born at Kapiolani.
In addition to questions about his birthplace, Obama has claimed a father who was never a U.S. citizen. On his 2008 campaign website, “FighttheSmears,” Obama claimed that he “became a citizen at birth under the first section of the 14th Amendment” in response to the “lie” that he was not a “natural born Citizen.”
As Bauer noted in his article, he was White House counsel when an alleged “long-form” birth certificate image, reportedly obtained in the form of two certified copies by Judith Corley, Obama’s personal lawyer and also of Perkins Coie, from the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) on April 27, 2011.
The event was widely reported by the mainstream media. During a press conference following the release of the image, Obama stated that the White House had “provided additional information today about the site of my birth.” He did not hold a document in his hand, nor was one displayed in the background or held by anyone else as he spoke.
Within hours and the following days, a number of published experts in the field of computer graphics and Internet engineering declared the “long-form” birth certificate image to be a forgery. Those claims eventually led to a request from 242 constituents of then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio for an investigation to protect the integrity of their votes in the 2012 election in the event the reports of forgery proved accurate.
Arpaio agreed, delegating the task to his “Cold Case Posse,” a volunteer arm of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) consisting of former law-enforcement officers, attorneys and other professionals.
Initially, Arpaio believed a brief study of the image would “clear the president,” he said publicly on a number of occasions. However, after several days, lead investigator and former New Jersey detective Mike Zullo informed Arpaio that the image was problematic and could not be deemed authentic.
An investigation lasting more than five years then ensued, with Zullo traveling to Hawaii twice and several times to Washington, DC with evidence that the long-form image originated not from a real, paper document held by the HDOH, but rather, on a computer screen shortly before it was uploaded to the White House website.
The probe was marked by three formal press conferences on March 1, 2012; July 17, 2012; and December 15, 2016. At the final presser, Zullo announced that two forensic analysts, approaching the image from different disciplines and unaware of the other’s work, reached conclusions very similar to his own: that the image is a “computer-generated forgery.”
Throughout the investigation, the media resisted reporting the facts and evidence as they were presented by Zullo and Arpaio, and many completely omitted the development involving the outside forensic analysts.
In his column on Monday, Bauer recounted what he said was the process by which the long-form image was obtained from the HDOH and his role in it.
As The Post & Email has noted since Obama left office, it is many of Obama’s most ardent supporters and former staffers who now raise the issue of the “birth certificate” in television commentary and books, often invoking the term “birther” and awarding Trump the title of “leader” of the recalcitrant group of disbelievers.
Media outlets such as The Washington Post and the Associated Press have never explained the inconsistencies in their own articles over the years regarding Obama’s life narrative, including The Post‘s non-mainstream claim that Obama was “raised in the Kansas heartland.”
Of the events leading up to the release of the image, Bauer wrote, in part:
Trump did so well that in April 2011, the White House obtained and released additional documentation: the “long-form” birth certificate. At the time, I was serving as White House counsel and was charged with coordinating the acquisition of the form. It was not the “official” birth certificate the Obama campaign had publicly posted years before. Long forms contain more information, such as the ages and birthplaces of the parents and the name of the hospital, but they are not more authoritative than the official certificate in confirming the date and location of birth.
By acquiring and releasing this document, the White House might have been taken to be conceding that what it had previously put out was not adequate or reliable. It was not conceding anything of the sort. But it faced a problem: Reporters had begun pressing for the White House to find and produce the long form, as if this were the response that the president reasonably owed his accuser.
Somehow it was thought foolish to ignore the lies and the message they conveyed. No responsible observer or member of the press doubted the official birth certificate, and there were other pieces of corroborating evidence, such as the birth notice that had appeared in the Hawaiian press. This was, perversely, deemed insufficient. President Obama supposedly needed to do more to quiet the birthers and their most vocal national spokesperson, Donald Trump.
Bauer also referenced commentary by MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews, who he said “had no patience for the lies of the birther movement.” In the same sentence, Bauer contended that Matthews nevertheless “memorably expressed bewilderment that the president had so far resisted providing the public with the long form.”
Bauer claimed that Matthews “in no way” ever questioned whether or not Obama’s birth occurred within the United States. However, in a December 18, 2007 discussion about remarks made by former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey about the upcoming presidential election, Matthews asked rhetorically if Democrat primary contender Hillary Clinton might make an issue of Obama’s “birth in Indonesia” and “Islamic background.” It was not until later that Matthews took the position that anyone questioning Obama’s claimed birth in Hawaii was doing so with nefarious purpose.
In his article, Bauer claimed that after Corley obtained the two certified copies, “…Dan Pfeiffer, the White House director of communications, and I brought it to the press briefing room for distribution and to answer questions. I explained the procedure we had used to achieve access to the long form.”
After reviewing Bauer’s article Tuesday morning, The Post & Email sought comment from both Bauer and Zullo.
Contacting Bauer through an email address at The Atlantic, we requested an interview, briefly citing the findings of the Cold Case Posse. As of press time, we have received an auto-response but nothing else.
However, on Tuesday morning Zullo responded by email with:
As far as I’m concerned, he’s a key person in the entire cover-up. I just sent you the excerpt from the Q&A session where the reporter makes the observation that what was handed out was a photocopy of a piece of paper. There was no evidence that Dan Pfieffer, Bob Bauer, or Barack Obama ever displayed the actual document received by Judith Corley, if in fact there was one. It’s cover for a story that they concocted to show the American people a phony document.
The transcript excerpt, as received from Zullo, reads:
Q And this is going to sound — I mean, you can just anticipate what people are going to — remain unconvinced. They’re going to say that this is just a photocopy of a piece of paper, you could have typed anything in there. Will the actual certificate be on display or viewable at any — (laughter.)
Q Will the President be holding it?
MR. PFEIFFER: He will not, and I will not leave it here for him to do so. But it will — the State Department of Health in Hawaii will obviously attest that that is a — what they have on file. As Bob said, it’s in a book in Hawaii.
MR. BAUER: And you’ll see the letter from the director of the Health Department that states that she oversaw the copy and is attesting to —
Q But do you understand that this could quiet the conspiracy theorists?
MR. PFEIFFER: There will always be some selection of people who will believe something, and that’s not the issue. The issue is that this is not a discussion that is just happening among conspiracy theorists. It’s happening here in this room; it’s happening on all of the networks. And it’s something that, as I said, every major political figure of both parties who’s actually out trying to talk about real issues is asked about this by the media. And so the President decided to release this. And I’ll leave it to others to decide whether there’s still — there will be some who still have a different — have a conspiracy about this.
Q You’ve got two certified copies, according to this study. You have these physical —
MR. PFEIFFER: Yes. I showed you one. Just one.
Q You showed us a photocopy of one.
MR. PFEIFFER: No, I showed you —
Q Does that have a stamp?
MR. PFEIFFER: It has a seal on it.
Q Why does this rise to the level of a presidential statement?
MR. PFEIFFER: The President — this in itself — when you hear the President I think you’ll understand the point he’s making. That will be in not too long.
Zullo additionally told us by telephone:
The reporter makes a statement to Pfeiffer that he showed only “a photocopy” of one of the certified copies. Pfeiffer said, “No, I showed you…” They never brought a real birth certificate into that briefing room. There was never a photograph of a birth certificate in that briefing room. They showed a copy of something whose origins are unknown. Whatever was displayed to the American people as an authentic birth certificate was actually a contrived, fabricated document, and Dan Pfeiffer and Robert Bauer are two of the key players in the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people, in my opinion.
I want to issue a challenge: Any time Bob Bauer, Dan Pfeiffer or former President Barack Obama ever wants to hold and publicly display the authentic Certificate of Live Birth, we would be more than happy to entertain that.