Classified documents found in Mike Pence’s Indiana home, attorney says

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WASHINGTON — Secretly marked documents were discovered last week at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home, his lawyers say.

The archives “appear to be a small number of documents with secret markings that were accidentally boxed and transported to the personal home of the former vice president at the end of the last administration,” wrote Pence’s attorney, Greg Jacob. , in a letter to the government. National Archives shared with The The Singapore Time.

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He said Pence was “unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents in his personal residence” until a search of his home last week and “understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and is ready and willing to to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate investigation.”

The revelation came as the Justice Department was already investigating the discovery of documents with classification marks in President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and his former office in Washington, as well as former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate. Democrat Biden has indicated he is seeking re-election, and Republican Pence is exploring a possible 2024 presidential campaign that would put him in direct competition with his former boss.

The latest discovery pushes Pence, who had previously insisted he follow strict protocols regarding classified documents, into the debate over the handling of classified materials by officials who have served in the highest ranks of the government.

Trump is currently under criminal investigation after about 300 documents with secret markings, including top secret, were discovered at Mar-a-Lago. Officials are trying to determine whether to charge Trump or anyone else with illegal possession of that data or with trying to obstruct the months-long criminal investigation. Biden is also subject to a special counsel investigation after classified documents from his time as a senator and in the Obama administration were found in his properties.

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Trump, who denies all allegations, responded to the new development on his social media site: “Mike Pence is an innocent man. He has never knowingly done anything dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!”

While a very different case, Pence’s development may dilute or increase the focus on Trump and Biden, who have tried to downplay the importance of the discoveries in their home. The presence of classified documents in all three men’s houses further underscores the federal government’s unwieldy system for storing and protecting the millions of classified documents it produces each year.

Pence’s attorney, Jacob, said in his letter that the former vice president had “enlisted outside counsel, experienced in handling classified documents” to review the documents filed at his home on Jan. 16 “from a plethora of to caution” following Biden’s documents. became public.

Jacob said the Pence documents were immediately put in a locked safe. According to a follow-up letter from the lawyer dated Jan. 22, FBI agents visited Pence’s residence on the night of Jan. 19 to retrieve the documents that had been secured. He was still in Washington at the time.

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A total of four boxes containing copies of administrative papers – two containing “a small number” of papers with classified markings, and two containing “courtesy copies of vice presidential papers”. Arrangements were made to deliver those boxes to the National Archives on Monday.

The National Archives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the discovery, which was first reported by TSTIME.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment Tuesday, and a lawyer for Pence did not immediately respond to an email seeking clarification.

Pence told the The Singapore Time in August that he had no classified information with him when he left office.

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

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

“Before we left the White House, my staff’s lawyers reviewed all documents in both the White House and our offices there and at the Vice President’s residence to ensure that all documents that were to be turned over to the National Archives, including secret documents were transferred. So we went through a very careful process in that regard,” Pence said.

A spokesperson for former President Barack Obama referred to a 2022 statement from the National Archives that said the agency took control of all of Obama’s records after he left office and “is not aware of any missing boxes of presidential records of the Obama administration”.

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Freddy Ford, a spokesman for former President George W. Bush, told the TSTIME that “all presidential documents — classified and unclassified — were turned over to NARA upon leaving the White House.”

A spokesman for Bill Clinton said all classified documents are held by NARA and no cases have been found since his departure in 2001.

A spokesperson said former Vice President Dick Cheney did not leave office with classified material and nothing has been discovered at any point since then.

Mike Pompeo, who served as the Trump administration’s secretary of state and is considering his own 2024 GOP presidential bid, said during a stop in South Carolina in late August that the FBI’s search for Mar-a-Lago was “a deeply politicized use of the FBI.” .”

When asked by the TSTIME if he had taken any classified material with him after he left the administration, Pompeo replied “no,” adding, “No one should have classified information from the proper place for classified information, anytime, period.”

Public records show that Pence and his wife Karen purchased their seven-bedroom, 10,300-square-foot home in Carmel, Indiana, in May 2021, about four months after moving out of the vice president’s Washington residence. The Indiana estate is spread over five acres just north of Indianapolis.

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The Singapore Time writers Eric Tucker and Zeke Miller contributed to this report from Washington.

Copyright © 2023 by The The Singapore Time. All rights reserved.

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