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Trump speaking on Aug. 15. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told reporters Saturday his presidential campaign will "not be pursuing" a baseless claim that Sen. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's running mate, may be ineligible to serve as vice president because both her parents were not naturalized citizens at her birth.

Why it matters: Harris was born in Oakland, California. She is an American citizen and is eligible for the office. Critics, including some Republicans, denounced an op-ed published by Newsweek this week as a new attempt at "birtherism" — the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not actually born in the U.S. — targeting the first woman of color on a presidential ticket.

“It’s not something that we will be pursuing” Trump said of Harris’ eligibility to serve as VP.

But, but, but: When pressed on Saturday, the president refused to say affirmatively that Harris is in fact eligible.

Driving the news: Newsweek on Friday apologized for article, saying it "was never intended to spark or to take part in the racist lie of Birtherism, the conspiracy theory aimed at delegitimizing Barack Obama, but we should have recognized the potential, even probability, that that could happen."

What he's saying: "I have nothing to do with that," Trump said of the op-ed. "I read something about it, and I will say he's a brilliant lawyer," referring to the author of the editorial. "...so, I know nothing about it, but it's not something that bothers me."

  • "It's not something we will be pursuing. Let me put it differently, to me, it doesn't bother me at all. I don't know about it. I read one quick article. The lawyer happens to be a brilliant lawyer."
  • "If she's got a problem, you'd have thought that she would have been vetted by Sleepy Joe," Trump added.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Key takeaways from Obama's "60 Minutes" interview

A screenshot from former President Obama's "60 Minutes" interview

Former President Obama told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday there's been a "truth decay" in American politics and it's "been accelerated by outgoing President Trump."

Driving the news: Obama made the comments in response to CBS' Scott Pelley's question on what he meant in his upcoming book that "our democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of a crisis." Obama said he meant in "the sense that not only do we not have to tell the truth, but the truth doesn't even matter."

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office.
  2. Health: Coronavirus death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased COVID-19 testing can reduce transmission — Hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Vaccine: What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do — Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take vaccine in public —WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020.