It's an issue that badgered, befuddled, bothered, bugged and bedeviled Barack Obama from before he was inaugurated until well into his second term.
Now it could rain on his legacy.
His birth certificate.
Because now there's a news conference scheduled on Thursday about an official law enforcement investigation into the validity of the document he presented to the nation in a press conference at the White House.
Investigations already were done, lawsuits were filed, the Supreme Court was lobbied but skeptics of Obama's constitutional eligibility repeatedly were stymied by federal judges and officials, who said, effectively, "There will be no discussion about this."
The issue is that the U.S. Constitution requires the president to be a "natural-born citizen" but does not define the term. Scholarly works cited by the Founders defined it as a citizen at birth, born in the country to two citizens of the country, or merely the offspring of two citizens of the country.
The birth certificate Obama displayed on the White House website as "proof positive" of his eligibility states he was born in Hawaii to an American mother and a Kenyan father.
Some immediately pointed out alleged anomalies, questioning its validity, while others argued it also could prove his ineligibility because his father was not a citizen. Some of the lawsuits argued Obama was a dual citizen at birth through his father, contending the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born citizens.
Eventually, just as the No. 1 bestseller "Where's The Birth Certificate?" was combining with a challenge from billionaire businessman Donald Trump to force Obama's hand, Obama held a White House news conference to release a copy of his birth certificate.
WND reported Obama explained he decided to release it because the Internet "chatter" was becoming a "distraction."
At the time, the Washington Times described Obama as "visibly frustrated" and noted that a recent CBS News-New York Times poll showed 45 percent of registered Republican voters believe Obama was not born in the U.S.
"I know that there's going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest, but I'm speaking to the vast majority of the American people," Obama said then. "We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We've got better stuff to do. I've got better stuff to do."
No. 1 bestseller “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” is as relevant as ever as a new law enforcement report agrees with the book that what Barack Obama released is a fraudulent document. Catch up on all the background in Jerome Corsi’s 2011 smash hit.
His statement came just was he was departing for Chicago to appear on Oprah Winfrey's television show.
But while the issue became known in liberal and left-leaning circles as the biggest "conspiracy" theory of all time, some document experts questioned the validity of the birth certificate Obama released. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, responded to a petition from his constituents by launching a formal "Cold Case Posse" law enforcement investigation of the document.
Arapaio, known for his strict enforcement of immigration laws, commissioned the investigative team after local citizens presented him with a petition expressing concern that Obama might not be eligible for Arizona's presidential ballot.
Mike Zullo, Arpaio's lead investigator, said at the time his team believed the Hawaii Department of Health engaged in a systematic effort to hide from public inspection any original 1961 birth records it may have in its possession.
The Cold Case Posse advised Arpaio that they believed forgers committed two crimes. First, they say it appeared the White House fraudulently created a forgery that it characterized as an officially produced governmental birth record. Second, the White House fraudulently presented to the residents of Maricopa County and to the American public at large a forgery represented as "proof positive" of President Obama's authentic 1961 Hawaii long-form birth certificate.
The investigators also said they had developed credible evidence that Obama's Selective Service card was a forgery, based on an examination of the postal date stamp on the document. Also, records of Immigration and Naturalization Service cards filled out by passengers arriving on international flights originating outside the United States in the month of August 1961, examined at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., were missing records for the week of President Obama’s birth.
Videos connected to the investigation at that time:
1. Introduction – Regular Scan:
2. Layers, Stamp & Noise
3. OCR Theory
6. Selective Service
View the entire news conference of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "Cold Case Posse":
Arpaio said then a "continuing investigation" was needed, and his investigators set to work.
The PPSIMMONS blog, affiliated with author, pastor and radio host Carl Gallups, confirmed the press conference regarding the birth certificate has been scheduled for 4 p.m. Mountain Time.
Gallups, who is close to Zullo and the investigative team, told WND "this has been a long and arduous process for all who have been deeply involved in this case."
"The political and mainstream media interjections, accusations and mischaracterizations of the investigation and the investigators have been relentless," he said.
"But there was too much information still coming in concerning this case for them to completely drop the investigation. So, according to the promise that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Mike Zullo made, they continued on and dug even deeper."
Gallups said the press conference "will represent a conclusion of the matter concerning the validity of the represented birth certificate document that was put forth by the Obama administration and posted on the White House website."
WND reported in 2015 when the issue was raised in a CNN interview in which anchor Jake Tapper excoriated Arpaio for questioning Obama's document.
See the interview:
On CNN's "The Lead," Tapper said, "You've trafficked in this rather preposterous notion that Obama was not born in the United States and that he may have forged his birth certificate that he released."
He continued, "Why would you risk your credibility on issues you care about – like illegal immigration, like law enforcement – by getting involved in this nonsense?"
"What do you mean 'risk'?" Arpaio asked. "I'm the chief law enforcement officer elected by the people. I have a right to investigate and speak out. I'm not talking about where he came from. I don't care where he came from. We're working on a fraudulent, forged government document. That's what we are doing."
Tapper interjected, "You're maintaining that the birth certificate that the president of the United States revealed and released to the public, you're maintaining that that is fraudulent?"
Obama’s birth certificate: It’s still in the news after all these years. Now get the No. 1 bestselling book that forced the release of the document being challenged anew as fraudulent in an official law enforcement report.
"That's right," Arpaio responded.
The CNN host asked, "Is there anyone, any credible law enforcement person outside of you and your organization and your contractors, who has any agreement with you on this?"
"No, they haven't looked at it," Arpaio said. "What, are you kidding? I'm probably the only law enforcement official who has looked into it. Nobody looks into it. They shy away from it."
Once again, a flustered Tapper interrupted: "Because the president was born in Hawaii."
"I don't care where he was born," Arpaio replied. "I'm talking about a fraudulent government document, a birth certificate. That's all I'm concerned with. That's a violation of the law."
Previously, Arpaio affirmed he was "pretty well convinced" Obama's birth certificate, as released by the White House in 2011, is a "fraudulent, fake document."
"I've been in law enforcement 55 years," Arpaio told "Aaron Klein Investigative Radio." "I think I know a fraudulent, fake document. I'm not a computer expert. I rely on my people. But I'm pretty well convinced it's a fake document."
Listen to "Aaron Klein Radio" clip of Joe Arpaio discussing Obama's birth certificate:
But Zullo has indicated the White House computer image of Obama's birth certificate contains anomalies that are unexplainable unless the document had been fabricated piecemeal by human intervention, rather than being copied from a genuine paper document.
Zullo has noted that Reed Hayes, a document examiner who has served as expert witness for Seattle law firm Perkins Coie – the firm that flew an attorney to Honolulu to personally deliver two paper copies of the birth certificate to the White House – has concluded in a signed affidavit that the document posted on the White House website is "entirely fabricated."
The issue was complicated by Hawaiian officials refusing to verify any information about Obama's birth certificate. Even the hospital where Obama said he was born refused to cooperate.
Also, at the time Obama was born, only a short time after Hawaii was admitted as a state, there were a number of ways a Hawaiian birth certificate could have been obtained without the person having been born in Hawaii.
Six years into Obama's administration, WND reported a poll revealed nearly one-quarter of American adults didn't even believe he's a U.S. citizen, let alone a "natural-born citizen," and another 17 percent were unsure.
Rasmussen Reports found 41 percent of Republicans believed Obama is not an American citizen, a belief shared by 21 percent of those who are unaffiliated and 11 percent of Democrats.
"Just over 20 percent of Republicans and unaffiliated adults also are not sure, but only 7 percent of those in the president's party share that doubt," the polling organization said in a report titled "Have We Got A Conspiracy for You – 9/11? JFK? Obama's Citizenship?"
Overall, 23 percent said the theory that Obama is not an American citizen is true, and another 17 percent said they weren't sure. Sixty percent reject the theory as false.
Ironically, in recent months it's been, Obama, his wife Michelle, Secretary of State John Kerry and even his former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who have raised the issue over and over.
It was during an appearance in Nairobi, Secretary of State John Kerry said he thanked the Kenyan president for giving America "a president of the United States" – a comment alluding to the contested issue of where Obama was born.
Kerry told Kenya's foreign minister he had a conversation with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta concerning the Olympic Games in Rio and President Obama's birthplace:
I had the pleasure of beginning that meeting [with Kenyatta], as I want to begin this press conference this afternoon, by congratulating Kenya on something no nation's athletes have ever before accomplished, and that is to win both the men's and the women's marathon races at the Olympic Games. Absolutely extraordinary. When I mentioned that to President Kenyatta, he promptly said to me, "Well, we also had a hand in helping you win a silver because the person who won came from Kenya." (Laughter.)
"And I said, "Actually, Mr. President, you did better than a silver and a gold. You gave us a president of the United States." (Laughter.) So you can see we had a very friendly and positive beginning to the conversation.
Watch the video of Kerry's remarks:
Obama himself raised the question at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, during an address in which he urged Americans to elect Clinton.
"You know, there's been a lot of talk in this campaign about what America's lost – people who tell us that our way of life is being undermined by pernicious changes and dark forces beyond our control," Obama said. "They tell voters there's a 'real America' out there that must be restored. This isn't an idea that started with Donald Trump. It's been peddled by politicians for a long time – probably from the start of our Republic.
"And it's got me thinking about the story I told you 12 years ago tonight, about my Kansas grandparents and the things they taught me when I was growing up. They came from the heartland; their ancestors began settling there about 200 years ago. I don't know if they had their birth certificates, but they were there."
The mention of "birth certificates," which prompted laughter and cheers from the crowd, was a deviation from the president's prepared remarks, and comes just two nights after his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, brought up the issue of her husband's citizenship and faith during her speech to the DNC.
At that time, Michelle Obama said one of her jobs in the White House was to teach her daughters "to ignore those who question their father's citizenship or faith."
She was referencing the challenges to her husband's constitutional qualification for office as a "natural born citizen."
Hillary Clinton "went birther" during a campaign appearance in Charlotte, North Carolina when she tweeted, "Someone who has never forgotten where he came from. And Donald, if you're out there tweeting: It's Hawaii." –Hillary on @POTUS
"Someone who has never forgotten where he came from. And Donald, if you’re out there tweeting: It’s Hawaii." — Hillary on @POTUS
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 5, 2016
Among the many records the Obama camp has refused to release are the marriage license of his father (Barack Sr.) and mother (Stanley Ann Dunham), name-change records (Barry Soetero to Barack Hussein Obama), adoption records, records of his and his mother's repatriation as U.S. citizens from Indonesia, baptism records, Noelani Elementary School (Hawaii) records, Punahou School financial aid or school records, Occidental College financial aid records, Harvard Law School records, Columbia senior thesis, Columbia College records, record with Illinois State Bar Association, files from his terms as an Illinois state senator, his law client list, medical records and passport records.