Former US vice-president Mike Pence.
- The documents could contain sensitive or classified information distributed through the records.
- The former US vice-president Mike Pence did not know that the documents were at his home.
- The documents were taken to Pence’s home at the end of Donald Trump’s administration.
Documents marked as classified were discovered at former US Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home last week, and he has turned those classified records over to the FBI, his representative said in letters seen by Reuters.
Pence’s representative sent a letter to the National Archives notifying them of the documents and in a separate letter said the FBI came to the former vice president’s home to collect the documents.
The discovery puts Pence in the company of his former boss, former President Donald Trump, and President Joe Biden after documents with classified markings were found at their residences.
Pence’s representative, Greg Jacob, said in a letter dated 18 January to the National Archives that “out of an abundance of caution” Pence had engaged outside counsel to review records stored in his home after reports about the materials found at Biden’s residence.
“Counsel identified a small number of documents that could potentially contain sensitive or classified information interspersed throughout the records,” Jacob wrote in the letter.
“Vice President Pence immediately secured those documents in a locked safe pending further direction on proper handling from the National Archives,” he said.
In a separate letter dated 22 January, Jacob said the Justice Department “bypassed the standard procedures and requested direct possession” of the documents at Pence’s residence.
With agreement by the former vice president, FBI agents came to his Indiana home at 21:30 on 19 January to collect the documents stored in the safe, Jacob said.
Biden, whose documents dated from his time as vice president, and Trump, who resisted turning over the items, leading to an FBI raid, are both facing special counsel investigations by the Justice Department over improper handling of classified materials.
During a presidential transition period, the records from each administration are supposed to be turned over to the legal custody of the US National Archives. It is unlawful to knowingly or willfully remove or retain classified material. Failure to properly store and secure classified material poses risks to national security if it should fall into the wrong hands.
CNN first reported the story of the documents being found at Pence’s home.