Classified documents found at former US VP Pence's Indiana home
Documents marked as classified were discovered at former US Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana home last week, and he has turned those classified records over to the FBI, his representative said in letters seen by Reuters.
Pence's representatives sent a letter to the National Archives notifying them of the documents and in a separate letter added the FBI came to the former vice president's home to collect the documents.
A lawyer for Mike Pence discovered about a dozen documents marked as classified, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
The FBI and the Justice Department's National Security Division have launched a review of the documents and how they ended up in Pence's house in Indiana.
The classified documents were discovered at Pence's new home in Carmel, Indiana, by a lawyer for Pence in the wake of the revelations about classified material discovered in President Joe Biden's private office and residence, the sources said. The discovery comes after Pence has repeatedly said he did not have any classified documents in his possession.
It is not yet clear what the documents are related to or their level of sensitivity or classification. Pence's team was planning to notify Congress yesterday.
Pence asked his lawyer to conduct the search of his home out of an abundance of caution, and the attorney began going through four boxes stored at Pence's house last week, finding a small number of documents with classified markings, the sources said.
Pence's lawyer immediately alerted the National Archives, the sources said. In turn, the Archives informed the Justice Department.
A lawyer for Pence told CNN that the FBI requested to pick up the documents with classified markings that evening, and Pence agreed. Agents from the FBI's field office in Indianapolis picked up the documents from Pence's home, the lawyer said.
On Monday, Pence's legal team drove the boxes back to Washington, DC, and handed them over to the Archives to review the rest of the material for compliance with the Presidential Records Act.
In a letter to the National Archives obtained by CNN, Pence's representative to the Archives Greg Jacob wrote that 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."
The classified material was stored in boxes that first went to Pence's temporary home in Virginia before they were moved to Indiana, according to the sources. The boxes were not in a secure area, but once the classified documents were discovered, the sources said they were placed inside a safe located in the house.
Pence's Washington, DC, office was also searched, Pence's lawyer said, and no classified material or other records covered by the Presidential Records Act was discovered.
The news about Pence come as special counsels investigate the handling of classified documents by both Biden and former President Donald Trump. The revelations also come amid speculation that Pence is readying for a run at the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
Since the FBI searched Trump's home in Florida for classified material in August with a search warrant, Pence has said that he had not retained any classified material upon leaving office. "No, not to my knowledge," he told The Associated Press in August.
Sources familiar with the process say 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.
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 containing classified markings. The search was conducted after Biden's lawyers discovered classified material in Wilmington following the initial discovery of classified documents at Biden's private think office in November.
Biden's attorneys say they are fully cooperating with the Justice Department, seeking to draw a distinction from the Trump investigation.