A lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence discovered about a dozen documents marked as classified at Pence’s Indiana home last week, and he has 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 launched a review of the documents and how they ended up in Pence’s house in Indiana.
The classified documents were discovered at Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana, by a lawyer for Pence in the wake of the revelations about classified material discovered in President Joe Biden’s private office and residence, the sources said. The discovery comes after Pence has repeatedly said he did not have any classified documents in his possession.
It is not yet clear what the documents are related to or their level of sensitivity or classification.
Pence’s team notified congressional leaders and relevant committees of the discovery on Tuesday.
Pence asked his lawyer with experience handling classified material to conduct the search of his home out of an abundance of caution. Sources said that the attorney, Matt Morgan, began going through four boxes stored at Pence’s house last week, finding a small number of documents with classified markings.
Pence’s lawyer immediately alerted the National Archives, the sources said. In turn, the Archives informed the Justice Department.
A lawyer for Pence told CNN that the FBI requested to pick up the documents with classified markings that evening, and Pence agreed. Agents from the FBI’s field office in Indianapolis picked up the documents from Pence’s home, the lawyer said.
On Monday, Pence’s legal team drove the boxes back to Washington, DC, and handed them over to the 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 to the Archives Greg Jacob wrote that a “small number of documents bearing classified markings” were inadvertently boxed and transported to the vice president’s home.
“Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” Jacob wrote. “Vice President Pence understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry.”
The classified material was stored in boxes that first went to Pence’s temporary home in Virginia before they were moved to Indiana, according to the sources. The boxes were not in a secure area, but they were taped up and were not believed to have been opened since they were packed, according to Pence’s attorney. Once the classified documents were discovered, the sources said they were placed inside a safe located in the house.
Pence’s Washington, DC, advocacy group office was also searched, Pence’s lawyer said, and no classified material or other records covered by the Presidential Records Act was discovered.
The news about Pence come as special counsels investigate the handling of classified documents by both Biden and former President Donald Trump. The revelations also come amid speculation that Pence is readying for a run at the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
Since the FBI searched Trump’s home in Florida for classified material in August with a search warrant, Pence has said that he had not retained any classified material upon leaving 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 did not,” Pence responded.
“Well, there’d be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area,” Pence continued. “But I will tell you that I believe there had to be many better ways to resolve that issue than executing a search warrant at the personal residence of a former president of the United States.”
While Pence’s vice presidential office in general did a rigorous job while he was leaving office of sorting through and turning over any classified material and unclassified material covered by the Presidential Records Act, these classified documents appear to have inadvertently slipped through the…