A lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence found 12 classified documents in a search of his Indiana home in the latest bombshell related to mishandling of secret information by officials.
Pence quickly moved to notify authorities and handed over the documents unearthed in the search, which was launched after similar searches turned up classified materials at President Joe Biden’s home and office.
“A small number of documents bearing classified markings ... were inadvertently boxed and transported to the personal home of the former Vice President at the end of the last Administration,” Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, told the National Archives in a letter last week.
Jacobs said Pence, who is considering a 2024 presidential run, had no idea the documents were stored at his home and is cooperating fully with an investigation.
“Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” Jacobs said.
Pence’s team told congressional leaders about the documents on Tuesday.
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 home in Carmel, Indiana.
FBI agents went to Pence’s home on Jan. 19 to retrieve the papers, according to Jacob. Pence was in Washington at the time. Four boxes contained copies of administration papers, two of which had “a small number” of documents with classified markings, the letter said.
The discovery mirrors the recent discovery of several sets of documents at an office once used by Biden before his return to the White House and his home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Special counsel Robert Hur has been appointed to investigate the Biden documents.
The Pence and Biden finds are completely different from the scandal involving former President Donald Trump, who deliberately took hundreds of classified documents to his Florida home when he left the White House in 2021.
Unlike Pence and Biden, Trump resisted efforts to retrieve the top secret documents and defied a subpoena for their return.
A federal judge authorized a search of Mar-a-Lago, which turned up about 300 classified documents.
Special counsel Jack Smith is investigating the document issue as well as Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the plot to overturn his election loss to Biden.
Days after FBI agents raided Trump’s Florida resort last August, Pence told reporters he didn’t take home any classified documents.
“No to my knowledge,” the former vice president told The Associated Press.
Trump on Tuesday defended Pence in a post on his social media site.
“Mike Pence is an innocent man,” Trump wrote. “He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would consider supporting new laws covering the handling of classified documents.
GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky backed the handling of the documents cases by Attorney General Merrick Garland, breaking from fellow Republicans.
“They ought to treat everybody the same who has misplaced classified documents, and it seems so far as if the attorney general is making an effort to do that,” McConnell said.
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