Former Vice President Mike Pence’s attorneys found about a dozen classified documents at Pence’s Indiana home last week and handed over those classified records to the FBI, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN. told to
The FBI and the Department of Justice’s National Security Agency have launched an investigation into the documents and how they ended up at Pence’s home in Indiana.
The classified documents were found at Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana, by Pence’s attorney following a revelation about classified materials found in President Joe Biden’s private office and residence, sources said. The discovery came after Pence repeatedly stated that he did not possess classified documents.
It is not yet clear what the documents relate to, their level of sensitivity or classification.
Pence’s team notified congressional leaders and relevant committees of the findings on Tuesday.
Pence hired a lawyer with experience working with sensitive material to search the house with great care. Attorney Matt Morgan began looking through four boxes kept at Pence’s home last week and found a handful of documents with classified markings, according to sources.
Pence’s attorney immediately notified the National Archives, sources said. The Archives then notified the Department of Justice.
Pence’s attorney told CNN that the FBI had requested that the documents be marked classified that night, and Pence agreed. Investigators at his FBI field office in Indianapolis received the documents from Pence’s home, the attorney said.
On Monday, Pence’s legal team returned the box to Washington, D.C. and handed over the remaining material to the archives for compliance with the Presidential Records Act.
In a letter to the National Archives, obtained by CNN, Greg Jacob, Pence’s representative at the National Archives, said “a small number of documents marked classified” were inadvertently boxed up and stolen from the vice president’s home. I wrote that I was transported to
“Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of confidential and confidential documents in his private residence,” wrote Jacob. “Vice President Pence understands the importance of protecting classified and confidential information and is ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and appropriate investigations.”
Sources say the classified material was kept in boxes that were first sent to Pence’s temporary home in Virginia before being moved to Indiana. According to Pence’s attorney, the box was not in a secure location, but was taped up and unlikely to have been opened since it was packed. Once the classified documents were found, sources said they were placed in a safe at the house.
Pence’s Washington, DC advocacy group Pence’s attorney said his office was also searched, but no confidential material or other records covered by the Presidential Records Act were found.
The news about Pence comes as the special counsel investigates the handling of classified documents by Biden and former President Donald Trump. The revelation also comes amid speculation that Pence is preparing to run for his 2024 Republican presidential nomination race.
Pence said he had no classified materials in his possession at the time of his resignation since the FBI searched Trump’s home in Florida in August with a search warrant for classified materials. ” he told the Associated Press in August.
In November, Pence was asked by ABC News at his home in Indiana if he had taken classified documents from the White House.
“I didn’t,” Pence replied.
“Well, there’s no reason to classify documents, especially if they’re in an unprotected location,” Pence continued. “But I believe there must be many better ways to solve this problem than executing a search warrant at the private residence of the former president of the United States.”
Pence’s Office of the Vice President generally had a rigorous job of organizing and submitting classified and unclassified materials subject to the Presidential Records Act, but these classified documents inadvertently slipped through the process. It seems that. The materials were packed with Pence’s personal papers, separate from the vice president’s residence, sources told his ClNN.
The Vice President’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington has a secure facility for handling classified materials, and classified documents are typically kept for the Vice President’s inspection.
Some of the boxes in Pence’s Indiana home were packed from the vice president’s residence, while others came from the White House during the last days of the Trump administration, going through the rest of Pence’s process. Last minute stuff that wasn’t included was included. I did the documentation.
The discovery of classified documents at Pence’s official residence marks the third time in recent history that a president or vice president has improperly possessed classified documents after resigning from office. Biden and Trump are currently being investigated by separate special counsel for their handling of classified materials.
Sources familiar with the process say Pence’s discovery of classified documents after the Trump-Biden dispute suggests a more systemic problem related to classified documents and the Presidential Records Act. end of administration.
On Friday, the FBI searched Biden’s Wilmington mansion for additional classified material. The investigation follows the discovery of classified documents in Wilmington by Biden’s attorneys after the classified documents were first discovered in Biden’s private sink office in November.
Biden’s lawyers have said they are cooperating fully with the Justice Department and are trying to stay separate from the Trump investigation.
Tuesday’s development was welcome news for Biden administration officials and supporters. A senior government official said:
The discovery of classified documents at Mr. Pence’s home, according to the official, highlights that Biden aides weren’t the only ones to make the mistake of packing classified documents that should have been turned over to the archives. It will help.
The deployment could also be used by the White House to highlight the importance of how the situation is handled after classified documents are discovered, officials said.
Administration officials claim the lawyers working for the president did the right thing by notifying the archives as soon as classified documents were first discovered in early November, and Biden’s legal team. distinguishing Trump and his actions from the handling of the issue by the team.
The FBI obtained a search warrant to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in August. Federal investigators believe Trump has not turned over all classified material despite the subpoena and have taken action out of concern that Mar-a-Lago records have been moved. rice field.
Still, Trump’s legal team saw Pence’s move as positive for the former president, according to a source familiar with the matter. While each case is different, a member of his legal team believes the development will make it harder for prosecutors to justify filing criminal charges against them, the sources said. says.
“They are all connected in some way,” the source said, referring to Pence, Biden and Trump.
Last week, Pence told Larry Kudrow in an interview with Fox Business that he received the president’s daily brief at the vice president’s mansion.
“I get up early. I go to the vault where the military aide keeps those sensitive materials. I pull them out and review them,” Pence said. “I would give them presentations and, frankly, most of the time I would just put them back in the file they were on when I received the rally. “Just as I would destroy any material I received at the White House.”
Congressional leaders of both parties were stunned by new revelations that Mr. Pence also had classified records in his home.
“This is incomprehensible,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin.
“The bottom line is we don’t know how this happened. We need to find out the truth,” said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham. “I have no faith that Mike Pence is intentionally trying to compromise national security. But clearly there is a problem here.”
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, a Kentucky Republican investigating classified Biden documents, said in a statement that Pence contacted him about classified documents found in his home.
“He has agreed to cooperate fully with Congress’ oversight and with our inquiries on this matter,” Comer said, adding that Pence’s transparency was a reflection of the Biden administration’s response to Congress on classified documents. It added that it was “a stark contrast.” Comer’s statement made no reference to classified Trump documents.
But the former president appeared in Pence’s defense on Tuesday. “Mike Pence is an innocent man. He has never done anything willfully dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!” Trump wrote on his own social media. posted on his site.
This story has been updated with additional details.