Former US Vice President Mike Pence revealed Tuesday that he had discovered documents marked as classified in his home, the latest twist in a growing scandal over politicians’ handling of the country’s most sensitive secrets.
Pence, seen as a window of opportunity for the presidency in 2024, had his attorney last week inform the National Archives of a “small number” of documents that were “accidentally boxed” and transported to his Indiana home when he took his 2021 left office.
He informed the Republican-led oversight committee about the cache on Tuesday, according to chairman James Comer.
It was not immediately clear what information the documents contained or what classification level they had been assigned.
The discovery follows revelations of classified material discovered in President Joe Biden’s private office and residence, and allegations that Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump obstructed justice following an FBI investigation into a much larger stash of government secrets found at his home. .
“Former Vice President Pence’s transparency stands in stark contrast to Biden’s White House aides who continue to withhold information from Congress and the American people,” Comer added, without mentioning the Trump case.
Pence had asked his lawyer to search his home out of “an abundance of caution,” NewsMadura reported, citing unnamed sources, and the lawyer last week began searching four boxes stored in Pence’s home.
– ‘An innocent man’ –
“Mike Pence is an innocent man. He has never knowingly done anything dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!” Trump posted on his Truth Social platform.
The development came as Republicans stepped up their investigation of classified documents in the possession of Biden, who was himself a vice president under Barack Obama, as they were removed from the White House.
Documents were unearthed in a private think-tank office where the president worked in Washington in early November, in the president’s garage in Wilmington, Delaware on Dec. 20, and in his home library on Jan. 12. Justice Department officials found six more classified documents during a search of the Delaware home last week.
Comer has asked the Washington think tank for all of his security-related communications by Feb. 1, along with a list of employees and others with keycard access and a log of Biden’s visitors.
Government officials can be prosecuted for civil or criminal violations for mishandling classified documents. But sitting presidents cannot be indicted thanks to Justice Department policies.
Justice Department special counsel Robert Hur and Jack Smith are conducting criminal investigations into the Biden and Trump documents, respectively.
Republicans have added the scandal to their growing pile of inquiries into the Biden administration, accusing the federal government of holding Trump to a higher standard than his successor.
The White House has attempted to contrast the Biden and Trump cases, but underlined that the president’s alleged behavior is significantly less egregious than the actions Trump is accused of.
– ‘Unintentionally misplaced’ –
“We are confident that a thorough investigation will show that these documents were accidentally mislaid and that the president and his attorneys acted immediately upon discovery of this error,” Richard Sauber, the president’s special attorney, said in a statement when the scandal erupted.
Trump is accused of resisting repeated efforts by the Justice Department and national archives to recover hundreds of classified materials he was hoarding at his South Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago.
The standoff led to the beachfront mansion and club being raided last August by the FBI, who suspected obstruction of justice.
The number of documents recovered from Trump and their sensitivity — including signals intelligence and information from human sources — explain the FBI’s more urgent response in that case, the Biden administration says.
But Republicans seized on Biden in September telling CBS that Trump’s hoarding of presidential data was “totally irresponsible” to accuse the White House of hypocrisy.
The Justice Department is expected to demonstrate why charges may be warranted in one case and not in another if Trump is ultimately the only top former politician to be prosecuted.
In modern Washington, virtually every investigation of a politician is seen through a partisan lens, and Trump regularly sparks outrage among his supporters by denouncing investigations against him as witch hunts.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, who gave a press conference on a different matter, declined to comment on the Pence documents and declined to reveal whether he is considering appointing a third special counsel for the case.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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