January 30, 2023

A lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence found around a dozen classified documents at Pence’s Indiana home last week, CNN reported Tuesday afternoon. Pence promptly turned the documents over to the FBI, according to the report.

After classified documents were found in President Joe Biden’s home in recent weeks, Pence reportedly asked his lawyer to search his own home out of what CNN described as an abundance of caution. Pence’s attorney found a handful of documents with classified markings on them, according to a source who spoke to CNN.

Pence’s lawyer promptly alerted the National Archives, and the National Archives contacted the Justice Department, CNN reported.

Pence and Biden’s handling of the classified material discovered by their lawyers stands in stark contrast to that of former president Donald Trump, who fought tooth and nail throughout 2021 and much of 2022 to avoid handing over documents that the National Archives and, later, the Department of Justice suspected were at his property. 

In 2021, Trump and his team were asked to return the documents on several occasions. For months, Trump refused to cooperate with NARA and DOJ officials, leading to a criminal investigation and subpoenas, which Trump defied. In August, the FBI raided Trump’s Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, to retrieve boxes of documents. Among those discovered were documents marked as Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information, one of the highest classification levels that the government uses. 

The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division have launched a review of the documents found at Pence’s residence, CNN reported Tuesday. Biden and Trump’s handling of classified documents are being examined by separate special counsels. 

A lawyer for Pence told CNN that the FBI asked to pick up the classified documents the evening they were discovered and Pence agreed. Agents from the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis then retrieved some of the documents from Pence’s home, according to the lawyer. On Monday, Pence’s lawyer drove the rest of the documents to Washington D.C. and handed them over to the National Archives. 

In a letter to the National Archives obtained by CNN, Pence’s representative Greg Jacob said, “Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence. Vice President Pence understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry.”

Pence’s Washington D.C. office was also searched by his lawyers, who did not find classified material or other records covered by the Presidential Records Act, a lawyer for Pence told CNN.

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