washington — A “small number” of documents with classified markings were discovered at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home last week and turned over to the FBI, his attorney for the National Archives and Records Administration said.
In a Jan. 18 letter, attorney Greg Jacob told an archives official that a Pence associate searched the home last week after discovering classified documents in President Biden’s home and former office in Wilmington, Delaware, in Washington, DC had been. think tank.
“The additional records appear to be a small number of documents bearing secret markings that were accidentally bagged and transported to the former Vice President’s private home at the end of the last administration,” Jacob wrote to Kate Dillon McClure, acting director of the White’s Liaison Department House of Archives. “Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents in his private home.”
Two people familiar with the matter told CBS News that Pence’s longtime assistant, Matt Morgan, found the documents. CNN was the first to report the discovery on Tuesday.
Jacob, who has served as Pence’s top White House counsel, said Pence “hired an outside attorney with experience handling classified documents” on Jan. 16 to review records kept at his home after reports of them being classified classified documents in Mr Biden’s possession and “out of caution”. During the search, the documents were found which “could potentially contain sensitive or classified information scattered throughout the records”.
“However, Vice President Pence’s attorney is unable to provide an accurate description of the folders or information materials that may contain sensitive or classified information because the attorney failed to review the contents of the documents after an indicator of possible classification was identified ‘ Jacob wrote in the January 18 letter. “Vice President Pence immediately secured these documents in a locked safe pending further instructions on their proper handling by the National Archives.”
In a second letter, dated January 22, Jacob said the FBI went to Pence’s Indiana home on the night of January 19 to pick up the documents and the transfer was facilitated by Pence’s personal attorney, who was not named.
In addition to the two boxes in which the documents were found, two other contained “courtesy copies” of papers from Pence’s vice presidency, Jacob told Jay Bosanko, the archives’ chief operating officer.
Pence offered to turn over the four boxes to the archives for review to ensure they did not contain original documents that qualified as presidential records and therefore required to be turned over to the agency under federal law, Jacob said.
Jacob has arranged for the boxes to be delivered himself on Monday morning.
A Pence employee told CBS News that although the boxes were kept in an unsafe area of the home, they were taped down and were not considered opened.
Pence also briefed the House Oversight and Accountability Committee on Tuesday about the discovery, according to his chairman, GOP Rep. James Comer.
“He has agreed to fully cooperate with Congressional oversight and any questions we have on the matter,” Comer said in a statement. “Former Vice President Pence’s transparency is in stark contrast to Biden White House staffers who continue to withhold information from Congress and the American people.”
Comer’s panel is examining the documents found in Mr Biden’s former office and home.
Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said he plans to request an intelligence review and damage assessment of the records found at Pence to determine if there are national security concerns, as he has raised regarding the requested documents from Mr. Biden.
“It is a serious matter for any government official to mishandle classified documents,” he said tweeted.
Following the discovery of Mr. Biden’s documents and the seizure of dozens of sensitive records from former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence, Pence has repeatedly denied having in his possession any documents with classification marks from his tenure as vice president.
in a (nOn Jan. 10, Pence said his staff reviewed “all materials in our office and at our residence” to ensure no sensitive records had left the White House.
“I remain confident that this has been done in a thorough and careful manner,” said the former vice president.
In an interview with ABC News last November, Pence was asked if he had taken any sensitive documents.
“Let me ask you, as we sit here in your home office in Indiana, did you take any classified documents from the White House?” ABC’s David Muir asked Pence.
“I haven’t,” Pence replied.
The discovery follows matters involving documents marked as classified found in both Mr. Biden’s and Trump’s possession, prompting Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint separate special counsel to handle the Justice Department’s investigation.
A former senior adviser to Pence, who was unaware of the documents’ existence before CNN reported them, said, “I think it shows that if it can happen to an Eagle Scout like Pence, it can happen to anyone.”
In Mr. Biden’s case, between 25 and 30 documents with classification marks from his days as a senator and vice president were found by his personal attorneys at his former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement and his home in Wilmington.
The records were turned over to the Justice Department, and Mr Biden’s special counsel, Richard Sauber, said in a Jan. 12 statement that the documents were “inadvertently misplaced.” The FBIthe president’s home in Delaware last Friday and found six items with secret markings, Mr. Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer said over the weekend.
In Trump’s case, more than 300 documents with classification markings were discovered at his South Florida property, Mar-a-Lagothrough the archives to retrieve records the former president took from the White House at the end of his presidency.
Of the 300 records, more than 180 documents with classification marks were in boxes retrieved from the Mar-a-Lago Archives in January 2022. Another 38 documents marked as classified were turned over to the Justice Department by Trump’s attorneys in June in response to a grand jury subpoena to search all documents with non-disclosure markings in Trump’s possession.
More than 100 classified documents were then found at Mar-a-Lago when the FBI conducted a court-authorized search of the property on Aug. 8.
Trump has claimed that he declassified the records prior to leaving office, and regardless that he considers the documents “personal” under the Presidential Records Act and could therefore keep them.
He is under investigation for alleged misuse of classified documents and possible obstruction of the investigation, prosecutors said.
Robert Costa and Sara Cook contributed coverage.