Classified documents have been discovered in former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home, a development that is widely seen as relieving pressure on President Joe Biden after multiple tranches of classified documents taken long before Biden was elected president were found at his properties and a former office.
The search at Pence’s home two years after he left office was reportedly conducted by his lawyer and came after the former vice president denied repeatedly that he had any such information in his possession. Attorney Matt Morgan conducted the search last week at Pence’s request, his reasoning being “an abundance of caution,” according to CNN.
The discovery prompted an unexpected response from former President Donald Trump, who took to his social media platform Truth Social on Tuesday to seemingly defend Pence, a potential 2024 rival for the Republican presidential nomination.
Trump wrote, “Mike Pence is an innocent man. He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!”
The Truth post prompted a flurry of responses suggesting that Trump was being sarcastic, but the former president shared nothing else on the matter to offer any clarity on his stance.
LMAO sarcastic tweet, the guy bashed Pence to the ground a thousand times.. Come on bro there are real things to talk about Trump
— Armano Kostakent (@kostakent) January 25, 2023
Dude, you know Donald J Trump! This is him being sarcastic and trolling Mike Pence!!!
— DR. Fahrenheit 451 (@neverdems) January 24, 2023
In November, during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Pence criticized Trump’s handling of classified documents as being “not proper.”
“I’ve not hesitated to criticize the president when I think he was wrong. And clearly, possessing classified documents in an unprotected area is not proper,” Pence said, before adding, “I was on the Judiciary Committee for ten years in the House of Representatives. I, I know how the Justice Department works, and there had to be many other ways to resolve those issues.”
A total of four boxes were searched at Pence’s home, with “a small number” of papers bearing classified markings being found, according to a letter Pence’s attorney Greg Jacob sent to the National Archives and Records Administration.
“The additional records appear to be a small number of documents bearing classified markings that were inadvertently boxed and transported to the personal home of the former Vice President at the end of the last Administration,” Jacob wrote. “Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence.”
The boxes of materials were reportedly turned over to the FBI and the Justice Department has launched an investigation into how the documents got there, CNN reported, adding that Pence’s team notified congressional leaders and relevant committees of the discovery on Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, confirmed in a statement that Pence reached out to offer his cooperation.
“Former Vice President Pence’s transparency stands in stark contrast to Biden White House staff who continue to withhold information from Congress and the American people,” Comer said.
The discovery marks the third time classified documents have been found on the private property of a recent president or vice president — currently, only Donald Trump is under criminal investigation over the alleged mishandling of classified materials after he left the White House, although he would – as president – have the authority to declassify material.
Attorney General Merrick Garland did appoint a special counsel earlier this month to investigate how Biden ended up with so many classified documents.
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