Sunday, February 12, 2006

Time Magazine Posts Photo Of Abramoff Near President
Time Magazine Posts Photo Of Abramoff Near President

President Bush and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff appear together in a photograph on Time magazine's Web site that is the first published image of the two in the same room.

Time and the New York Times posted the photo yesterday. It shows Bush greeting the leader of an Indian tribe with adviser Karl Rove watching on Bush's right and Abramoff in the background over Bush's left shoulder. The meeting took place May 9, 2001, at the Old Executive Office building next to the White House, Time said.

Investigators are examining the activities of lawmakers and their staffs in connection with Abramoff, who last month pleaded guilty to defrauding clients and conspiring to corrupt public officials. Abramoff is cooperating with the Justice Department.

When asked about Abramoff on Jan. 26, Bush said the lobbyist was probably among thousands of people who are photographed with the president. "I, frankly, don't even remember having my picture taken with the guy," Bush said at a news conference. "I don't know him."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan told Time that the photo does not change anything. "The president has taken countless, tens of thousands of pictures at home and abroad over the last five years," McClellan told Time. "A photo like this has no relevance to the Justice Department's investigation."