Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an event promoting his new book at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank October 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
Attorneys for former Vice President Mike Pence said a “small number” of classified documents were found at his home in Carmel, Indiana last week.
Pence’s attorneys notified the National Archives and Records Administration of the discovery on Wednesday, according to a letter from CNBC.
The classified documents were discovered on Jan. 16 after Pence had an outside attorney experienced in dealing with classified documents search his own home and records “as a precautionary measure” following news that classified documents were found in President Joe Biden’s home and office became. a lawyer for Pence told the archives. The discovery, previously reported by CNN, came after Pence said on multiple occasions he had no classified documents.
Gregory Jacob, an attorney at O’Melveny charged with handling Pence’s records, said in a letter sent to the National Archives on Sunday that the Justice Department called on FBI agents to Pence at 9:30 p.m. Thursday sent home to retrieve the documents that were kept in a safe while he was in Washington, DC for the March for Life.
“We haven’t heard from the DOJ since,” Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley told NBC News.
Read Jacob’s letters to the National Archives here:
Congressional leaders were briefed on the discovery by Pence’s team on Tuesday.
O’Malley told NBC News that all four boxes, “the two that have a small number of [classified] Papers that appeared to bear secret markings were found and two separate boxes of courtesy copies of ‘vice presidential papers’ were personally delivered to the archives by Pence’s legal team on Monday.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed two separate special prosecutors to investigate Biden and former President Donald Trump over their handling of classified information.
The White House announced on January 9 that documents belonging to Biden’s personal attorneys were found on November 2 at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, DC. The attorneys then notified the National Archives, which led to an investigation by the Justice Department. Additional documents were later found by Biden’s attorneys at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Dec. 20, prompting a search of the home by FBI agents on Friday.
Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., was raided by the FBI in August after months of discussions between the National Archives, the Justice Department and Trump. Officers found 15 boxes containing hundreds of documents marked as classified in the raid.
Unlike Biden, who agreed to the search, Trump refused to cooperate and was eventually granted a search warrant. Trump has repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong in handling documents after his presidency and has claimed that confidential material of his was released before he left office, despite evidence to the contrary.
Trump defended his former vice president in a post on his website Truth Social.
“Mike Pence is an innocent man,” Trump wrote. “He has never done anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him in peace!!!”
Special Counsel Robert Hur, a former US Attorney for Maryland, was hired by Garland to investigate Biden’s handling of classified material on January 12. Garland hired Jack Smith, a former federal prosecutor, to investigate Trump’s handling of classified documents on November 18. Smith is also investigating Trump’s involvement in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
The FBI declined to comment, citing the Justice Department, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on the Pence revelations when asked by reporters Tuesday, citing the ongoing investigation.
“The Ministry of Justice is independent and we will not interfere politically,” said Jean-Pierre. “We made that very, very clear.”
Biden told reporters in Mexico City Jan. 10 that he was “surprised” by the discovery of the documents.
In an interview with CBS News on Jan. 10, before the documents were found at his home, Pence said he was “confident” that he had no classified materials from his tenure in the White House.
“Our staff reviewed all materials in our office and home to ensure no classified materials left the White House or remained in our possession,” Pence said. “I remain confident that this has been done in a thorough and careful manner. In the final days of the Trump-Pence administration, this process was clearly improperly handled by staff around the President of the United States.”
Pence told Fox Business on Jan. 12, before classified documents were found in his own home, the situation was a “very serious matter”.
“Dealing with classified materials and the secret of the nation is a very serious matter, and as a former Vice President of the United States, I can speak from personal experience of the attention that should be given to those materials both when you are in office and after you are in office left,” he told FOX Business. “And that clearly didn’t happen in this case.”
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, SC, told reporters Tuesday the United States may overclassify information. Graham also said he believes the document crisis is now going beyond politics.
“What became a political issue for Republicans has now become a national security issue for the country,” Graham said at a news conference on Capitol Hill.
— CNBC’s Kayla Tausche contributed to this article.