A lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence discovered dozens of classified documents at Pence’s Indiana home last week and has turned the classified records over to the FBI, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. Sources told CNN.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division have begun reviewing the documents and how they ended up at Pence’s home in Indiana.
Sources said the classified documents were discovered by Pence’s lawyer in the wake of revelations about classified materials found in President Joe Biden’s private office and residence at Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana. The discovery came after Pence repeatedly said he had no classified documents.
It is not yet clear what the documents relate to or their sensitivity or classification level. Pence’s team plans to brief Congress on Tuesday.
Sources said Pence asked his attorney to search his home more carefully, and the attorney last week began going through four boxes in Pence’s home, including one of the classified documents. A small number was found.
Pence’s lawyer immediately notified the National Archives, sources said. In turn, the Archives notified the Department of Justice.
Pence’s lawyer told CNN that the FBI requested documents with classified markings that evening, and Pence agreed. Agents from the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis seized the documents from Pence’s home, the lawyer said.
On Monday, Pence’s legal team took the boxes back to Washington, D.C., and turned them over to the Archives to review the remaining material for compliance with the Presidential Records Act.
In a letter to the National Archives obtained by CNN, Greg Jacobs, Pence’s representative at the archives, wrote that “a small number of classified documents” were inadvertently boxed up and delivered to the vice president’s home. was given.
“Vice President Pence was not aware of the presence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” Jacobs wrote. “Vice President Pence understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and is ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry.”
According to sources, classified materials were stored in boxes that first went to Pence’s temporary home in Virginia before being moved to Indiana. The boxes were not in a secure area, but once the classified documents were discovered, sources said they were kept inside a safe in the house.
Pence’s Washington, D.C. office was also searched and no classified material or other records were found under the Presidential Records Act, Pence’s lawyer said.
The news about Pence comes as the special counsel is investigating the handling of classified documents by both Biden and former President Donald Trump. The revelations come amid speculation that Pence is set to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
Since the FBI searched Trump’s Florida home for classified material with a search warrant in August, Pence has said he did not keep any classified material after leaving office. “No, not to my knowledge,” he told The Associated Press in August.
In November, Pence was asked by ABC News at his Indiana home whether he had taken any classified documents from the White House.
“I didn’t,” Pence replied.
“Well, there would be no reason to have classified documents, especially if they were in an unsecured area,” Pence continued. “But I will tell you that I believe there are better ways to solve this problem than executing a search warrant at the personal residence of the former president of the United States.”
Although Pence’s vice-presidential office generally did a strict job when he was leaving office of sorting out and turning over any classified and unclassified material under the Presidential Records Act, it appears that these classified documents were inadvertently leaked. The process slipped through the cracks because most sources told CNN that Pence’s personal papers were packed separately from the vice president’s residence.
The Vice President’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington has a secure facility for handling classified material, among other security, and it is common for classified documents to be held there for the Vice President to review.
Some of the boxes were packed from the vice president’s residence, while others came from the White House in the final days of the Trump administration, containing last-minute items that didn’t make it through the rest of Pence’s paperwork process.
The discovery of classified documents at Pence’s residence marks the third time in recent history that a president or vice president has improperly retained classified material after leaving office. Both Biden and Trump are now being investigated by separate special counsels over their handling of classified material.
Sources familiar with the process said the discovery of Pence’s classified documents after the Trump-Biden conflict would suggest a more systemic problem with classified material and the Presidential Records Act, which allows official records from the White House to be transferred to the National Archives. Need to hand over. Termination of administration.
On Friday, the FBI searched Biden’s Wilmington residence for additional classified material, an unprecedented search of a sitting president’s home that turned up six additional items marked with classification. The search comes after Biden’s lawyers discovered the classified material in Wilmington in November, following an initial discovery of classified documents in Biden’s private think tank.
Biden’s lawyers say they are fully cooperating with the Justice Department, trying to distance themselves from the Trump investigation.
The FBI obtained a search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in August. Federal investigators took the step because they believed Trump had not turned over all classified material despite a subpoena and were concerned that records were being moved to Mar-a-Lago.
Last week, Pence told Larry Kudlow in a Fox Business interview that he received the president’s daily brief at the vice president’s residence.
“I’m going to get up early. I’m going to go to the safe where my military aide keeps these classified materials. I’m going to take them out, review them,” Pence said. would receive and then, obviously, often rather than Larry, I would just return them to the file in which I received them. The military aide would collect and then destroy the classified material—the same material I would find at the White House.