24 January 2023

Classified documents found at home of former US vice president Mike Pence

24 January 2023

Documents with classified markings were discovered in former vice president Mike Pence’s Indiana home last week, his lawyer has told the National Archives — the latest in a string of discoveries of confidential information in private residences.

The records “appear to be a small number of documents bearing classified markings that were inadvertently boxed and transported to the personal home of the former vice president at the end of the last administration”, his lawyer Greg Jacob wrote in the letter shared with the Associated Press.

He said Mr Pence “engaged outside counsel, with experience in handling classified documents”, to review records stored in his personal home after it became public that documents with classified markings were found in President Joe Biden’s Wilmington residence.

The Justice Department is already using special counsels to investigate the presence of documents with classification markings taken from the Florida estate of former president Donald Trump and from Mr Biden’s home and former Washington office.

The department says about 300 documents marked classified, including at the top-secret level, were taken from Mar-a-Lago in Florida, and officials are trying to determine whether Mr Trump or anyone else should be charged with illegal possession of those records or with trying to obstruct the months-long criminal investigation.

Mr Pence’s lawyer said in his letter that the former vice president “was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence” and “understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready and willing to co-operate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry”.

Mr Jacob said Mr Pence immediately secured the documents in a locked safe, and according to a follow-up letter from the lawyer dated January 22, FBI agents visited Mr Pence’s residence to collect the documents.

Mr Pence told the AP in August that he did not take any classified information with him when he left office.

Asked directly if he had retained any such information, he said, “No, not to my knowledge.”

In a January interview with Fox Business, he described a “very formal process” used by his office to handle classified information as well as the steps taken by his lawyers to ensure none were taken with him.

“Before we left the White House, the attorneys on my staff went through all the documents at both the White House and our offices there and at the vice president’s residence to ensure that any documents that needed to be turned over to the National Archives, including classified documents, were turned over. So we went through a very careful process in that regard,” he said.

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