Former Vice President Mike Pence’s lawyer found a dozen documents marked classified at Pence’s Indiana home last week, and he has turned over those classified records to the FBI, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division began reviewing the documents and how they ended up at Pence’s home in Indiana.
The classified documents were discovered at Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana, following disclosures of classified material by one of Pence’s lawyers. Found in President Joe Biden’s private office and home, sources said. The discovery comes after Pence has repeatedly said he has no classified documents.
It is not yet clear what the documents relate to or what their sensitivity or classification is.
Pence’s team announced the findings to congressional leaders and related groups on Tuesday.
Pence asked his attorney to search his home with the utmost caution in dealing with classified material. The attorney, Matt Morgan, searched four boxes stored at Pence’s home last week and found a small number of documents with classified markings, sources said.
Pence’s lawyer immediately alerted the National Archives, the sources said. In turn, the archive informed the Department of Justice.
Pence’s lawyer told CNN that the FBI requested documents with classified identities that evening, and that Pence agreed. Agents from the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis took documents from Pence’s home, the attorney said.
On Monday, Pence’s legal team took the boxes to Washington, D.C., and turned the remaining materials over to the Archives to review in compliance with the Presidential Records Act.
A Letter Greg Jacobs, Pence’s representative for the archives, wrote to the National Archives, obtained by CNN, that “a small number of documents with classified identification” were inadvertently boxed up and transported to the vice president’s home.
“Vice President Pence was not aware of the presence of sensitive or classified documents in his private residence,” Jacobs wrote. “Vice President Pence understands the importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and is ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate investigation.”
The classified material was stored in boxes that first went to Pence’s temporary home in Virginia before being moved to Indiana, according to sources. The boxes were not in a secure area, but they were taped up and had not been opened since they were packed, Benz’s lawyer said. Once the confidential documents were found, they were kept in a safe located in the house, sources said.
Pence’s Washington, DC, advocacy group The office was also searched, Pence’s lawyer said, and no classified materials or other records covered under the Presidential Records Act were found.
The news about Pence comes as special counsel investigates Biden and the duo’s handling of classified documents Former President Donald Trump. The revelations come amid speculation that Pence is preparing to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
Since the FBI searched Trump’s home in Florida in August with a search warrant for classified material, Pence has said he did not possess any classified material after leaving office. “No, not to my knowledge,” he said said Associated Press in August.
In November, there was Pence ABC News asked Did he carry any classified documents from the White House at his Indiana home?
“I didn’t,” Pence replied.
“Well, there’s no reason to keep classified documents, especially if they’re in an unsecured area,” Pence continued. “But I will tell you that I believe there must be many better ways to solve that problem than to execute a search warrant at the private residence of the former President of the United States.”
While Pence’s vice president’s office typically did a rigorous job sorting through and turning over any classified material and unclassified material under the Presidential Records Act when he left office, it appears these classified documents inadvertently slipped into the process. Sources told ClNN that the items were packed separately from the vice president’s residence along with Pence’s personal papers.
The Vice President’s residence at the US Naval Observatory in Washington has a secure facility that handles classified material along with other security, and it is common for the Vice President to have classified documents for review.
Some of the boxes at Pence’s Indiana home were packed from the vice president’s residence, and some came from the White House in the final days of the Trump administration, including last-minute items. The documents did.
Secret documents were found at Pence’s home, the third time in recent history that the president or vice president has improperly kept classified materials after leaving office. Both Biden and Trump are now being investigated by separate special counsels for their handling of classified material.
Sources familiar with the process say that Pence’s discovery of classified documents after the Trump and Biden controversies suggests that official White House records are classified material that should be turned over to the National Archives and a more formal issue with the Presidential Records Act. An administrative decision.
On Friday, the FBI searched Biden’s Wilmington home for additional classified material, finding an unprecedented six additional items at the home of a sitting president. The search follows the discovery of classified documents in Biden’s private office in November and the discovery of classified materials by Biden’s lawyers in Wilmington.
Biden’s lawyers say they are fully cooperating with the Justice Department in seeking to recuse themselves from the Trump investigation.
Tuesday’s development was welcome news to Biden administration officials and allies. As one senior administration official put it: “It’s a Biden-only story so it’s lowering the temperature.”
One hope, the official said, is that the discovery of classified documents at Pence’s home will serve to underscore that Biden aides were not the only ones to blame for packing classified documents that should have been moved to the archives.
The White House could also use the development to emphasize the importance of how the situation was handled once the classified documents were discovered, the official said.
Administration officials have maintained that lawyers working for the president did the right thing by immediately notifying the archives when the classified documents were discovered in early November. Team.
The FBI obtained a search warrant to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in August. Federal investigators took that action because they believed Trump had not turned over all classified material despite a subpoena and the records at Mar-a-Lago were being moved.
However, Trump’s legal team also viewed Pence’s development as favorable to the former president, according to a source familiar with the matter. Although the circumstances differ in each case, members of his legal team believe the developments will make it difficult to justify bringing criminal charges against any of them, the source said.
“They’re all connected in some way right now,” the source said, referring to Pence, Biden and Trump.
Last week, Pence told Larry Kudlow in a Fox Business interview that he received the president’s daily briefing at the vice president’s residence.
“I’ll get up early. I’ll go to the safe place where my military aide puts those classified materials. I’ll pull them out and review them,” Pence said. I will give They went into what is commonly called a burnt pie. The military aide collects and destroys that classified material — the same goes for the stuff I get at the White House.
Congressional leaders in both parties were stunned by new revelations that Pence kept secret records at his home.
“I don’t understand it,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin.
“The bottom line is, I don’t know how this happened, and we need to get to the bottom of it,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham said. “I don’t believe for a minute that Mike Pence is deliberately trying to compromise national security. But here we have a problem.
House Oversight Chairman James Comer, a Kentucky Republican who is investigating Biden’s classified documents, said in a statement that Pence told him about classified documents found in his home.
“He has agreed to cooperate fully with congressional oversight and if we have any questions on the matter,” Comer said, adding that Pence’s openness was “in stark contrast” to the Biden administration’s response to Congress regarding classified documents. Gomer’s report did not mention Trump’s classified documents.
However, the former president came to Pence’s defense on Tuesday. “Mike Pence is an innocent man. He never knowingly did anything dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!” Trump posted on his social media account.
This story has been updated with additional details.