Blumenthal and Clinton deny charge, while bureau chief describes meeting where he was fed Obama birther story

Long-time Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal is vehemently denying reports that he shopped around the claim that then-rival Barack Obama was not born in the United States with members of the media in the 2008 election.

With the “birther” issue back in the news this week, Donald Trump held a press conference of sorts on Friday, where he summarily dismissed the matter by acknowledging that Obama was indeed born in the United States and claiming “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.”

Blumenthal found himself at the epicenter of the controversy Friday after former McClatchy D.C. bureau chief James Asher named names on social media, claiming Blumenthal “told me in person” that Obama was born in Kenya.

https://twitter.com/jimasher/status/776612456135262212

https://twitter.com/jimasher/status/776633213015982080

But Blumenthal told Fox News Saturday that Asher’s assertions are not true.

“This is false. Never happened,” he insisted. “Period. Donald Trump cannot distract from the inescapable fact that he is the one who embraced and promoted the racist birther lie and bears the responsibility for it.”

The Clinton campaign pushed back just as hard.

“As multiple, independent fact checkers have affirmed in the years since, neither the 2008 campaign nor the candidate ever questioned the president’s citizenship or birth certificate,” campaign spokesman Brian Fallon told Fox News.

Asher stood by his claim in an email Friday to McClatchy.

“During the 2008 Democratic primary, Sid Blumenthal visited the Washington Bureau of McClatchy Co.,” Asher wrote.

“During that meeting, Mr. Blumenthal and I met together in my office and he strongly urged me to investigate the exact place of President Obama’s birth, which he suggested was in Kenya,” he continued. “We assigned a reporter to go to Kenya, and that reporter determined that the allegation was false.”

Asher was at the time an investigative editor in charge of Africa coverage.

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Tom Tillison

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