Photographer admits editing inauguration photos

A government photographer told investigators that he intentionally cropped photos of President Donald Trump's inauguration to remove empty space and make the audience look larger, according to newly released documents.

Posted: Sep 10, 2018 5:49 AM
Updated: Sep 10, 2018 6:00 AM

A government photographer told investigators that he intentionally cropped photos of President Donald Trump's inauguration to remove empty space and make the audience look larger, according to newly released documents.

The admission, contained in newly released records from a 2017 investigation, shed new light on what happened after the National Park Service shared a social media post comparing the crowds that attended the inaugurations of Trump and former President Barack Obama.

Trump claimed footage of the event did not jibe with the number of people he saw from the stage. His then-press secretary, Sean Spicer, gathered reporters the following evening and claimed, "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration -- period."

The identity of the photographer and many other government officials are redacted from the documents, which were first obtained by The Guardian.

The documents recount the call Trump placed on his first full day in office to the then-acting park service director, Michael Reynolds.

INTERACTIVE: The inauguration of Donald J. Trump

Reynolds told investigators he spoke with Trump at about 9:30 on the morning after the inauguration, and that the President "asked him to provide pictures of the inauguration," investigators with the Interior Department Office of Inspector General wrote in their notes.

Reynolds then relayed the request to multiple department staffers, including an unnamed communications employee, who said she was told, "Trump wanted to see the pictures NPS had of the inauguration."

The official "said she got the impression that President Trump wanted to see pictures that appeared to depict more spectators in the crowd," the notes read. "She said that the pictures the public media had released had wide angles and showed a lot of empty areas. She assumed that the pictures the White House was asking for needed to be cropped to show more of the crowd present at the event, but acknowledged that Reynolds did not ask for this."

Spicer, the White House press secretary, also reached out to the park service, and a staffer said she understood he asked "for NPS to provide photographs in which it appeared the inauguration crowd filled the majority of the space in the photograph."

The request for additional photographs was relayed to at least two park service photographers who had worked at the event. One told investigators he arrived to his office about 30 minutes after Trump and Reynolds spoke, and that he cropped the photos, including removing "the bottom where the crowd ended."

"He said he did so to show that there had been more of a crowd," the investigators' notes read. "He said he believed that was what [redacted] wanted him to do. He said [redacted] had not specifically asked him to crop the photographs to show more of a crowd."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36287

Reported Deaths: 1249
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
Copiah67016
Leake63420
Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
Holmes59541
Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
Coahoma2306
Clarke22325
Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 52908

Reported Deaths: 1093
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
Cherokee1247
Geneva980
Lamar891
Clay852
Fayette851
Coosa661
Cleburne451
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 89°
Columbus
Few Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
Oxford
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 86°
Starkville
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 78°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather