First on CNN: Classified documents found at Pence’s Indiana home IG News

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An attorney for former Vice President Mike Pence discovered a dozen documents marked as classified at Pence’s Indiana home last week, and he turned those classified records over to the FBI, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division have begun a review of the documents and how they arrived at Pence’s home in Indiana.

The classified documents were discovered at Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana, by a lawyer for Pence, in the wake of revelations about classified material discovered in President Joe Biden’s private office and residence, the sources said. The search comes after Pence repeatedly said he did not have any classified documents.

It is not yet clear who the documents belong to or what their sensitivity or classification level is.

Pence’s team informed congressional leaders and relevant committees about the finding on Tuesday.

Pence asked his attorney with experience in handling classified material to search his home out of caution. Attorney Matt Morgan last week searched through four boxes at Pence’s home and found some documents with classified markings, the sources said.

The sources said Pence’s attorney immediately alerted the National Archives. In turn, the archives notified the Department of Justice.

A lawyer for Pence told CNN that the FBI requested documents with classified markings that evening, and Pence agreed. The lawyer said agents from the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis took the documents from Pence’s home.

On Monday, Pence’s legal team sent the boxes back to Washington, D.C., and handed them over to the archives to review the rest of the contents for compliance with the Presidential Records Act.

In a letter to the National Archives obtained by CNN, Pence’s representative for the archives, Greg Jacobs, wrote that “a small number of documents with classified markings” were inadvertently boxed and delivered to the vice president’s home.

“Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his private residence,” Jacobs wrote. “Vice President Pence understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate investigation.”

The classified material, according to sources, was stored in boxes that first went to Pence’s temporary home in Virginia before he moved to Indiana. According to Pence’s attorney, the boxes were not in a secure area, but were taped up and believed not to have been opened since being packed. Once the classified documents were discovered, sources said they were kept inside a safe located in the house.

Pence’s Washington, DC, advocacy group The office was also searched, Pence’s attorney said, and no classified material or other records covered by the Presidential Records Act were found.

The news about Pence comes as special counsel investigates the handling of classified documents by both Biden and former President Donald Trump. The disclosure also comes amid speculation that Pence is set to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.

Since the FBI searched Trump’s home in Florida for classified material with a search warrant in August, Pence has said he did not keep any classified material when he left office. “No, not to my knowledge,” he told The Associated Press in August.

In November, Pence was asked by ABC News at his Indiana home whether he had taken any classified documents from the White House.

“I didn’t,” Pence replied.

“Well, there would be no reason to have classified documents, especially if they’re in an unsecured area,” Pence continued. “But I will tell you that I believe there must be many better ways to address that issue than executing a search warrant at the private residence of a former President of the United States.”

While Pence’s vice presidential office typically did a rigorous job sorting out and replacing any classified material and unclassified material covered by the Presidential Records Act when he was leaving office, these classified documents were inadvertently leaked through the process. Most sources told CNN that Pence’s personal papers as well as separate material from the vice president’s residence were packed.

The Vice President’s residence at the US Naval Observatory in Washington has a secure facility for handling classified material, along with other security, and it would be common for classified documents to be there for review by the Vice President.

Some boxes at Pence’s Indiana home were packed from the vice president’s residence, while some came from the White House in the final days of the Trump administration, including last-minute items that didn’t go through the process, the rest of the Pence documents showed. did.

The search of classified documents at Pence’s residence marks the third time in recent history that a president or vice president has improperly classified material after leaving office. Both Biden and Trump are now being investigated by separate special counsels for their handling of classified material.

Sources familiar with the process say Pence’s discovery of classified documents following the Trump and Biden disputes would suggest a more systemic problem related to classified material and the Presidential Records Act, which requires official records from the White House to be turned over to the National Archives. Is. end of an administration.

On Friday, the FBI searched Biden’s Wilmington residence for additional classified material, an unprecedented search of a sitting president’s home that turned up six additional items with classified markings. The discovery followed an initial search of classified documents in Biden’s private think office in November by Biden’s lawyers in Wilmington.

Biden’s lawyers say they are cooperating fully with the Justice Department, trying to distance themselves from Trump’s investigation.

The FBI obtained a search warrant in August to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Federal investigators took this step because they believed that Trump had not turned over all classified material despite a subpoena and were concerned that records were being moved around at Mar-a-Lago.

Last week, Pence told Larry Kudlow in a Fox Business interview that he received the president’s daily briefing at the vice president’s residence.

“I’ll get up early. I’ll go to the vault where my military aide keeps those classified materials. I’ll take them out, review them,” Pence said. “I’ll get a presentation done for them and then, obviously, Larry More often than not, I’ll simply return them to the file I received them in. They were usually called a burn bag that my military aides would collect and then destroy those classified materials — the same materials I would receive at the White House.”

Congressional leaders of both parties were stunned by the new revelation that Pence also had classified records at his home.

“I don’t understand it,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “The bottom line is I don’t know how this happened, we need to get to the bottom of it.” “I don’t believe for one minute that Mike Pence is intentionally trying to compromise national security. But clearly we have a problem here.”

James Comer, chairman of the Kentucky Republican House Oversight, which is investigating Biden’s classified documents, said in a statement that Pence contacted him about the classified documents found at his home.

“He has agreed to fully cooperate with Congressional oversight and any questions we have about the matter,” Comer said. Comer’s statement did not mention the classified Trump documents.

The former president, however, came to Pence’s defense on Tuesday. “Mike Pence is an innocent man. He did not intentionally commit any dishonesty in his life. Leave him alone!!!” Trump posted on his social media sites.

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