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

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CNN

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

The FBI and the Justice Department’s Division of Homeland Security have begun a review of the documents and how they ended up in Pence’s Indiana home.

The classified documents were discovered at Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana, by a lawyer for Pence following revelations about classified material discovered in President Joe Biden’s private office and residence, the sources said. The discovery comes after Pence repeatedly said he had no confidential documents in his possession.

It is still unclear what the documents are related to or their level of sensitivity or classification. Pence’s team plans to notify Congress on Tuesday.

Pence asked his attorney to conduct the search of his home with great caution, and the attorney began searching through four boxes stored at Pence’s home last week, finding a small number of documents with classified marks, the sources said.

Pence’s attorney immediately alerted the National Archives, the sources said. In turn, the Archive informed the Department of Justice.

A lawyer for Pence told CNN that the FBI asked to pick up the documents with classified marks that night, and Pence agreed. Agents at the FBI’s Indianapolis field office picked up the documents at Pence’s home, the attorney said.

On Monday, Pence’s legal team flew the boxes back to Washington, DC, and turned them over to Archives to review the rest of the material for compliance with the Presidential Records Act.

In a letter to the National Archives obtained by CNN, Pence’s representative at the Archives, Greg Jacob, wrote that a “small number of documents with classified marks” were inadvertently crated and transported to the vice president’s home.

“Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of confidential or classified documents in his personal residence,” wrote Jacob. “Vice President Pence understands the great importance of protecting confidential and classified information and is ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate investigation.”

The classified material was stored in boxes that first went to Pence’s temporary home in Virginia before being moved to Indiana, according to the sources. The boxes were not in a secure area, but once the classified documents were discovered, sources said they were placed inside a safe located in the house.

Pence’s office in Washington, DC, was also searched, Pence’s attorney said, and no classified materials or other records covered by the Presidential Records Act were discovered.

The news about Pence comes as special advisers investigate the handling of classified documents by Biden and former President Donald Trump. The revelations also come amid speculation that Pence is preparing to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.

Since the FBI searched Trump’s Florida home for classified material in August with a search warrant, Pence said he had not withheld any classified material upon leaving office. “No, not that I know of,” he told the Associated Press in August.

In November, Pence was asked by ABC News at his Indiana home if he had taken any confidential White House documents.

“I don’t,” Pence replied.

“Well, there would be no reason to have confidential documents, especially if they were in an unsecured area,” Pence continued. “But I will tell you that I believe there must be many better ways to solve this problem than executing a search warrant on the personal residence of a former President of the United States.”

While Pence’s vice president’s office generally did a rigorous job while he was leaving office of classifying and turning over any classified and unclassified material covered by the Presidential Records Act, these classified documents seem to have inadvertently slipped through the cracks because most Two of the materials were packed separately from the vice president’s residence, along with Pence’s personal papers, the sources told CNN.

The Vice President’s residence at the United States 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 the Vice President to review.

Some of the boxes were packed at the vice president’s residence, while others came from the White House in the final days of the Trump administration, which included last-minute stuff that didn’t go through the process that the rest of Pence’s documents went through.

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

Sources familiar with the process say the discovery of classified documents by Pence after the Trump and Biden controversies would suggest a more systemic problem related to classified material and the Presidential Records Act, which requires official White House records to be turned over to the National Archives. at the 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 revealed six additional items containing classified marks. The search was carried out after Biden’s lawyers discovered classified material in Wilmington, following the initial discovery of classified documents in Biden’s private office in November.

Biden’s lawyers say they are cooperating fully with the Justice Department in seeking to distinguish the Trump investigation.

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

Last week, Pence told Larry Kudlow in an interview with Fox Business that he hosted the President’s Daily Brief at the vice president’s residence.

“I would get up early. I would go to the vault where my military aide would place these classified materials. I would pull them out, review them,” Pence said. “I would get a presentation for them, and frankly, most of the time, Larry, I would just put them back in the file I got them in. military aid gathered and then destroyed these classified materials – the same goes for the materials I received at the White House.”

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