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The image was taken by Obama White House photographer Pete Souza in 2013 when Biden was vice president and Monaco was a White House adviser.
A photo showing Joe Biden seated outdoors next to a woman with their backs toward the camera reveals nothing about their conversation, but according to former President Donald Trump it shows them scheming against Republicans.
"Biden sitting outside with Lisa Monaco, second in charge of the DOJ, probably working on future Plots and Schemes against Republicans," Trump wrote June 19 on Truth Social. His post included a photo of Biden and Monaco sitting outside the White House.
Trump has been a frequent critic of the Justice Department. He was indicted earlier this month by a federal grant jury on 37 counts over his handling of classified documents. Trump pleaded not guilty through his lawyer. He also faces a federal investigation related to his actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The photo Trump shared was taken May 1, 2013, by then-White House photographer Pete Souza.
The photo’s original caption read: "Vice President Joe Biden talks with Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, in the Rose Garden of the White House, May 1, 2013."
Monaco held that Homeland Security adviser position from 2013 to 2017, during Barack Obama’s second term.
The Justice Department appointed a special counsel to investigate cases involving Trump because he is seeking office. The department also appointed a separate special counsel to investigate the handling of Biden’s classified documents. Biden campaigned on a promise to not interfere with Justice Department investigations.
In an Instagram post responding to Trump’s Truth Social post, Souza wrote that the photo was taken after Obama’s morning intelligence briefing.
(Pete Souza's Instagram account)
"The VP and Lisa are sitting outside the Outer Oval Office at the edge of the Rose Garden (note that no trees have yet been cut down)," Souza wrote. "President Obama was departing the next day to meet with the President of Mexico. The Boston Marathon bombing had occurred two weeks before."
Their huddle was more than two years before Trump launched his 2016 presidential campaign.
Time interviewed Souza about some of his photographs in September 2020. Time asked Souza to choose photographs he took of Biden to discuss what he thought voters could glean about Biden as a leader and about what a Biden presidency would look like.
Souza said the photo of Biden and Monaco "illustrated that he listened to staff."
"Also to him, the gender of the staff, of the person, doesn’t matter," Souza said. "I think that in a Biden administration you’ll see a lot of women and people of color."
Trump’s Truth Social post suggests to viewers that the image of Biden and Monaco is current, referring to her role as the No. 2 Justice Department official. But the picture is a decade old. We rate this statement Mostly False.
Donald Trump, Truth Social post, June 19, 2023
AFP, Trump posts outdated photo in attack on Biden, Justice Department, June 21, 2023
Pete Souza, Instagram post, June 20, 2023
Justice Department, Lisa Monaco staff profile, Accessed June 21, 2023
Council on Foreign Relations, A Conversation With Deputy U.S. Attorney General Lisa Monaco: Defending the Rule of Law Against Hostile Nation States, March 28, 2023
Washington Post, FBI resisted opening probe into Trump’s role in Jan. 6 for more than a year, June 21, 2023
PolitiFact, Read Donald Trump’s indictment in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents investigation, June 9, 2023
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