Classified documents have been found in the home of Mike Pence, who served as Donald Trump’s vice-president.
The documents, numbering about a dozen according to CNN, were found in boxes at Pence’s Indiana home by Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, at the request of Pence.
In a statement, Jacob said, “After an abundance of caution, on Monday January 16 Vice President Pence engaged outside counsel with experience in handling classified documents to review records stored in his personal home.”
Jacob informed the National Archives about the discovery, which in turn informed the Department of Justice, which turned the documents over to the FBI, which launched a review of the documents and how they ended up in Pence’s house in Indiana.
It’s not known what the documents are related to or their level of sensitivity or classification. Additionally, Pence’s legal team delivered the boxes to the National Archives in Washington DC for further review.
In a letter to the National Archives obtained by CNN, Jacob wrote “a small number of documents bearing classified markings” were inadvertently boxed and transported to the vice-president’s home.
“Vice-president Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” Jacob wrote. “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, DC, office was also searched, Jacob said, adding no classified material or other records covered by the Presidential Records Act was discovered.
The documents were recovered after classified materials were discovered in the possession of President Joe Biden on four separate occasions in his private office and his home.
The discovery comes after Pence repeatedly said he did not have any classified documents in his possession.
Since the FBI raid on Trump’s home in Florida in August, Pence said he had not retained any classified material upon leaving office.
“No, not to my knowledge,” he told The Associated Press in August.
In November, Pence was asked by ABC News at his home whether he had taken any classified documents from the White House.
“I did not,” Pence responded. “Well, there’d be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area. But I will tell you I believe there had to be many better ways to resolve that issue than executing a search warrant at the personal residence of a former president of the United States.”
Both Trump and Biden are under scrutiny special counsels investigating their handling of classified documents.
CNN cites sources familiar with the process saying Pence’s discovery of classified documents after the Trump and Biden controversies would suggest a more systemic problem related to classified material and the Presidential Records Act, which requires official records from the White House to be turned over to the National Archives at the end of an administration.
Last week, Pence told Larry Kudlow in a Fox Business interview he received the President’s Daily Brief at the vice-president’s residence.
“I’d rise early. I’d go to the safe where my military aide would place those classified materials. I’d pull them out, review them,” Pence said.
“I’d receive a presentation to them and then, frankly, more often than not Larry, I would simply return them back to the file that I’d received them in. They went in commonly into what was called a burn bag that my military aide would gather and then destroy those classified materials. Same goes in materials that I would receive at the White House.”