Former Vice President Mike Pence is the third in a string of high-ranking politicians to have been found in possession of classified government documents. It is unclear what the documents are related to or their level of sensitivity or classification.
The US Department of Justice is continuing to pursue this investigation. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch, one of the few holdover Trump appointees, was positioned by Attorney General Merrick Garland to review the matter on January 12th of this year.
More recently, President Joe Biden was found in a very similar situation. First, an undisclosed amount of documents were found at a think-tank funded by Biden called the “Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.” Earlier this month, more documents were found in Biden’s garage, followed by another batch in his home found after a search on January 20th, making three collections in total, according to an earlier report by American Pigeon.
Now, Pence was found to have retained classified documents from his time as vice president after he asked an attorney to conduct a search. The documents that the attorney found were subsequently turned over to the FBI.
Pence had earlier claimed that he had not taken any classified information with him when he left office in an interview with The Associated Press. After being asked about the new findings, an associate of Pence at the National Archives stated that “Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” according to a document obtained by CNN.
Government officials’ reactions have been mixed to the news of Pence’s documents. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham admitted, “I don’t believe for a minute that Mike Pence is trying to intentionally compromise national security. But clearly we’ve got a problem here.”
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul reacted in disbelief, stating, “I’ve been dealing in the classified world all my career; I don’t understand people taking these documents home. If you do that, you’re supposed to have a safe designated for storage and you have to have a proper briefcase to carry it in.”
Even though Trump’s relationship with Pence has deteriorated considerably since they served in office together, Trump defended Pence.
“Mike Pence is an innocent man. He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!” the former president wrote on Truth Social, his social media network.