Former Vice President Mike Pence discovered a “small number” of classified documents at his Indiana home last week, according to a letter his attorneys sent to the National Archives and Records Administration and was released Tuesday.
Mr. Pence‘s lawyers said they discovered the documents on Jan. 16 after the former vice president requested outside counsel with experience handling classified documents search his home out of “an abundance of caution.” The move was prompted by the discovery of classified documents at President Biden‘s home and office after his days as vice president.
The FBI sent agents to Mr. Pence’s home Thursday evening to retrieve the documents, which were being stored in a safe, according to the letter sent Wednesday and authored by Gregory Jacob, an attorney for Mr. Pence. At the time of the search, Mr. Pence was in Washington attending the March for Life.
Lawyers also searched the office of Mr. Pence’s political advocacy group, Advancing American Freedom, but no sensitive materials were discovered.
Mr. Pence was “unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” his lawyer wrote, adding that the materials were locked away until they could be retrieved by the National Archives.
The sensitive materials were inadvertently boxed and transported to Mr. Pence’s home at the end of the Trump administration, Mr. Jacob wrote in a Sunday letter to the National Archives.
“Counsel identified a small number of documents that could potentially contain sensitive or classified information interspersed throughout the records,” Mr. Jacob wrote.
Mr. Jacob expressed confidence that a thorough review would show that most of the documents in all four boxes were copies of records that had already been sent to the archives.
The letter says Mr. Pence‘s lawyers couldn’t provide an exact description of the materials because they did not view the contents.
Mr. Jacob said Mr. Pence intends to work with the National Archives to ensure the “prompt and secure return” of the government secrets. Agents from the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis picked up the documents from Mr. Pence‘s home.
Mr. Pence‘s lawyer also notified Congress on Tuesday about the matter.
In August, Mr. Pence told The Associated Press that he didn’t take any classified documents with him when he left office.
When asked if he retained any classified files upon leaving office, Mr. Pence told the news outlet, “No, not to my knowledge.”
Mr. Pence is the third former or current U.S. official to have stored classified materials from their time in office at their homes. Mr. Biden is facing a torrent of criticism over the discovery of classified materials, including some dating back to his time in the Senate, at his Delaware home and former office in Washington.
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly refused to turn over classified materials stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence despite requests from the National Archives and Justice Department. In August, the FBI searched Mr. Trump’s home and seized scores of classified documents.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed separate special counsels to investigate the potentially illegal mishandling of classified documents by Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden.
Mr. Pence, who is considering launching a 2024 presidential campaign, has been critical of Mr. Biden, saying there is a “double standard” to how the current president was treated compared with Mr. Trump.
“But having now created that standard and now abandoned that standard when the current president of the United States is found to have had classified documents in his possession after leaving office, I think it just, I have no words right now. It’s just incredibly frustrating to me,” Mr. Pence said this month.
Mr. Pence and Mr. Biden were former vice presidents upon their document discoveries and promptly turned over the materials to the National Archives. Mr. Trump was a former president and resisted subpoenas.