Close associates of Mike Pence last week discovered about a dozen documents with secret markings stored in boxes at his Indiana home and turned the materials over to the U.S. Justice Department, according to a top adviser to the former vice president.
The documents were accidentally brought to Pence’s home at the end of Donald Trump’s administration and Pence was unaware of their presence, his representative at the National Archives and former counsel Greg Jacob said in a letter.
The presence of sensitive papers in Pence’s home, weeks after similar discoveries at Biden’s properties and after the FBI seized hundreds of Donald Trump’s classified documents, also raises more questions about the management of sensitive government data.
Special counsel has been appointed to investigate Biden and Trump over the retention of such documents.
Jacob said in the letter, dated Jan. 18 and first reported by TUSEN, that out of an abundance of caution, Pence hired an outside attorney to search his home following the discovery of classified documents in Biden’s residence and a Washington private office. .
The letter added that the lawyer could not specify anything more about the documents – including the content, dates and classification level, which remain unclear – because he stopped looking as soon as he saw the secret markings.
“On Monday, Jan. 16, Vice President Pence called in outside counsel, experienced in handling classified documents, to review documents stored in his personal home,” Jacob wrote. “Counsel has identified a small number of documents that may contain sensitive or classified information.”
Jacob notified the National Archives, and the agency immediately alerted the Justice Department’s national security division, which seized the documents and reportedly launched an investigation into the matter.
The discovery of documents marked secret is an embarrassing development for Pence after he confidently told TUSEN News last year that he had not removed any material from the White House. “I don’t,” Pence said in November last year.
Trump, Pence’s former boss, has been under a federal investigation for more than a year into whether he deliberately kept national security documents at his resort in Mar-a-Lago after the end of his presidency, justice has prevented their return from May last year.
Compared to Biden and now Pence, who took swift action to return documents to the government, Trump’s resistance to handing over materials on his Florida property led the Justice Department to turn his case into a criminal investigation.
The department usually prosecutes cases of mishandling of classified documents when there are aggravating factors: willful mishandling of classified information, large amounts of material suggesting misconduct, disloyalty to the United States, and obstruction.
The Trump investigation touches on at least two of those elements: obstruction, where a person conceals documents with the intent to interfere with a government agency, and the amount of classified material in Mar-a-Lago.
The obstruction particularly applies to Trump for his repeated refusal to turn in classified documents in full, including when he only partially complied with a grand jury subpoena issued in May demanding classified material.
For months, Trump also resisted searching for classified documents the Justice Department suspected were still in his possession, even after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, finally unearthing two more documents in December.