Documents marked classified found at Pence’s Indiana home, attorney says

Washington- A “small number” of documents with classified marks were discovered last week at the Indiana home of former Vice President Mike Pence and turned over to the FBI, his attorney told the National Archives and Records Administration.

In a letter dated Jan. 18, attorney Greg Jacob told an Archives official that a Pence aide conducted a search of the home last week following the discovery of classified documents at President Biden’s home and former office. in Wilmington, Delaware, in Washington, DC. group of experts

“The additional records appear to be a small number of classified-marked documents that were inadvertently packaged and transported to the former Vice President’s personal home at the end of the last administration,” Jacob wrote to Kate Dillon McClure, acting director of the Liaison Division. of White House Archives. “Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of confidential or classified documents at his personal residence.”

Two people familiar with the matter told CBS News that former Pence aide Matt Morgan found the documents. CNN was the first to report the discovery on Tuesday.

Jacob, who served as Pence’s lead White House attorney, said Pence “hired outside counsel, experienced in handling classified documents” on Jan. 16 to review records kept at his home in the wake of the reports on documents marked as classified found in Mr. Biden’s possession and “out of an abundance of caution.” It was during the search that the documents that “could potentially contain sensitive or classified information embedded in the records” were found.

“However, counsel for Vice President Pence is unable to provide an accurate description of folders or briefing materials that may contain sensitive or classified information because counsel failed to review the contents of the documents once an indicator of possible classification was identified,” Jacob wrote. in the letter of January 18. “Vice President Pence immediately secured those documents in a locked safe pending further instructions on the proper handling of the National Archives.”

In a second letter dated January 22, Jacob said the FBI went to Pence’s home in Indiana on the night of January 19 to pick up the documents and that the transfer was facilitated by Pence’s personal attorney, who was not identified. .

In addition to the two boxes where the documents were found, two others contained “courtesy copies” of documents from Pence’s vice presidency, Jacob told Jay Bosanko, the Archives’ director of operations.

Pence offered to transfer the four boxes to the Archives for a review to ensure they did not contain original documents that would qualify as presidential records and therefore needed to be turned over to the agency under federal law, Jacob said.

Jacob arranged to deliver the boxes himself on Monday morning.

Pence has repeatedly been asked if he believes he had documents with classification marks from his tenure as vice president and has denied having any in his possession, even after the seizure of dozens of confidential documents from former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence.

in a interview with CBS News On January 10, Pence said his staff reviewed “all materials in our office and at our residence” to ensure that no sensitive records left the White House and remained in his possession.

“I remain confident that this was done thoroughly and carefully,” the former vice president said.

Last November, Pence was asked in an interview with ABC News if he had taken any confidential documents.

“Let me ask you, as we sit here in your home office in Indiana, did you take any classified White House documents with you?” ABC’s David Muir asked Pence.

“I didn’t,” Pence replied.

The discovery follows matters involving documents marked as classified found in the possession of both Mr. Biden and Trump, each of which led Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint separate special counsel to take over Justice Department investigations. .

In Biden’s case, his personal attorneys found between 25 and 30 documents with classification marks dating from his time as a senator and vice president at his former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement and his Wilmington home.

The records were turned over to the Justice Department, and Richard Sauber, Biden’s special counsel, said in a January 12 statement that the documents “were inadvertently misplaced.” the fbi sought the president’s home in Delaware last Friday and found six items containing classified brands, Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer said over the weekend.

In Trump’s case, more than 300 documents bearing classification marks were discovered at his South Florida property, Mar-a-Lago, after efforts of months by the Archives to retrieve records taken by the former White House president at the end of his presidency.

Of the 300 records, more than 180 documents with classification marks were in boxes recovered by the Mar-a-Lago Archives in January 2022. Another 38 documents marked as classified were turned over to the Justice Department by Trump’s lawyers in June. in response to a grand jury subpoena seeking all filing-marked documents in Trump’s possession.

Then, more than 100 documents marked as classified were found at Mar-a-Lago when the FBI conducted a court-approved search of the premise on Aug. 8.

Trump has claimed that he declassified the records before leaving office and separately deemed the documents “personal” under the Presidential Records Act and therefore could keep them.

He is under investigation for alleged mishandling of classified documents, as well as possible obstruction of the investigation, prosecutors said.

Robert Costa contributed reporting.

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