FBI finds classified document during search of Mike Pence’s home

Pence’s legal team previously reported discovering classified documents and said they cooperated with US authorities.

Mike Pence
Former Vice President Mike Pence has said that he cooperated with authorities after classified documents were discovered in his home in Indiana [File: Elise Amendola/AP Photo]

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation has found one additional document with classified markings during a search of former US Vice President Mike Pence’s residence, a Pence adviser said.

The domestic intelligence agency carried out the consensual search of Pence’s Indiana home on Friday, several weeks after his lawyer Greg Jacobs informed the National Archives that records with classified markings had been discovered at the residence. Those documents were handed over to the FBI.

Pence adviser Devin O’Malley said on Friday that the US Department of Justice had removed “one document with classified markings and six additional pages without such markings that were not discovered in the initial review by the vice president’s counsel”.

O’Malley added that Pence and his legal team had “fully cooperated with the appropriate authorities”, and that the five-hour search was “thorough and unrestricted”.

Pence’s lawyers had previously reported that a “small number” of classified documents had been “inadvertently boxed and transported” to his Indiana home after his tenure as vice president had ended.

The search came as former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden were also facing investigations over their retention of classified documents during periods when they were no longer in office.

Biden served as a member of the US Senate, then as vice president during the Obama administration, before being elected president in 2020. Classified documents from those previous roles were discovered in Biden’s Delaware home, as well as an office he used at a Washington, DC, think tank.

While the documents have become a political issue for Biden, the White House has sought to contrast Biden’s cooperation with the response of former President Trump, who is alleged to have resisted handing over classified documents stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Investigators are working to determine whether Trump or his legal team obstructed a federal probe by withholding the materials. Special counsel Jack Smith is leading the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents, while a second special counsel, Robert Hur, has been appointed to look into Biden.

Pence is seen as a potential Republican candidate for the 2024 election, which could pit him against his former boss Trump — who has already announced his candidacy — and the current president, who has yet to declare whether he is running for reelection.

Some of the documents recovered at Pence’s house reportedly came from his office drawer at the White House. Others were from the home of the vice president in the Naval Observatory.

Pence admitted that mistakes had been made, but said that, in turning the documents over to authorities, he had “acted above politics and put national interests first”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies