The Justice Department has taken possession of a “small number” of documents with classified markings that former Vice President Mike Pence found in his Indiana residence earlier this month, according to Greg Jacob, the custodian of Pence’s White House records.
In a Jan. 22 letter to the National Archives, Jacob indicated that FBI agents came to Pence’s Indiana home on the night of Jan. 19 to retrieve documents that the former vice president had located a few days earlier.
“The transfer was facilitated by the Vice President’s personal attorney, who has experience in handling classified documents,” wrote Jacob.
DOJ’s effort to obtain the documents came days after Pence notified the National Archives that he had discovered them at his residence on Jan. 16. Jacob indicated Pence was unaware of the existence of the documents and had enlisted an outside counsel after press reports of the discovery of documents at President Joe Biden’s own personal residence.
The sensitivity of the newly discovered documents is unclear. In his first letter to the Archives, Jacob indicated that Pence’s counsel did not review them “once an indicator of potential classification was identified.”
Pence’s revelation threatens to upend the political landscape on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Biden White House has similarly turned over classified documents to the National Archives that were found in the president’s personal home and an office he used following his stint as vice president. But it has endured withering criticism, including from fellow Democrats, over the existence of those items. And House Republicans have already begun the process of investigating why classified items were discovered in both Wilmington, Del., and the Penn-Biden Center in Washington, D.C.
Revelations that such mistakes are widespread provided Democrats with a sense of inoculation. It also gave them a talking point to contrast Biden’s situation with that of Donald Trump’s, who also had classified documents on his personal property but refused to turn all them over when asked. [Continue reading…]