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Another classified document found in FBI search of Mike Pence’s home

Former Vice President Mike Pence sits in front of a U.S. flag and speaks into a microphone
Former Vice President Mike Pence, shown speaking at Georgetown University last fall, was visiting family in California while the FBI searched his Indiana home Friday.
(Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)
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The FBI discovered an additional document with classified markings at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home during a search Friday, following the discovery by his lawyers last month of sensitive government documents there.

Pence advisor Devin O’Malley said the Department of Justice completed “a thorough and unrestricted search of five hours” and 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.”

The search, described as consensual after negotiations between Pence’s representatives and the Justice Department, comes as he has been subpoenaed in a separate investigation into efforts by former President Trump to overturn the 2020 election and as Pence contemplates a Republican bid for the White House in 2024.

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Pence is now the third current or former top U.S. official to have his homes scoured by FBI agents for classified records, joining Trump and President Biden. The willingness of Pence and Biden to permit the FBI to search their homes and to present themselves as fully cooperative reflects a desire by both to avoid the drama that enveloped Trump last year and resulted in the Justice Department having to get a warrant to inspect his Florida property.

Police blocked the road outside Pence’s neighborhood in Carmel, just north of Indianapolis, on Friday afternoon while FBI agents were inside the home. Pence was out of state, visiting family in California after the birth of a grandchild.

Documents with classified markings were discovered in former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home last week, according to his attorney.

Jan. 24, 2023

A member of Pence’s legal team was at the home, according to one of the people familiar with the situation who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss law enforcement action. That person said the FBI was given unrestricted access.

O’Malley said Pence has directed his legal team to continue to cooperate with the Justice Department and “to be fully transparent through the conclusion of this matter.”

The FBI had already taken possession of what Pence’s lawyer previously described as a “small number of documents” that had been “inadvertently boxed and transported” to Pence’s Indiana home at the end of the Trump administration.

The Justice Department did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Separate special counsels have been investigating the discovery of documents with classification markings at Biden’s home in Delaware and his former Washington office, as well as Trump’s Florida estate. Officials are trying to determine whether Trump or anyone on his team criminally obstructed the probe in refusing to turn over the documents before the FBI seizure. The FBI recovered more than 100 documents marked classified while serving a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in August.

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In yet another document development, emails released late Friday revealed that after the National Archives became aware of the discovery of the classified papers at Biden’s former Washington office, archives officials requested and received papers that had been shipped to a law office in Boston by the president’s personal attorney.

No classified documents were believed to be in the Boston documents.

The circumstances of the Biden and Pence cases are markedly different from that of Trump.

Pence, according to his lawyer, Greg Jacob, requested a review of records stored at his home “out of an abundance of caution” during the uproar over the discovery of classified documents at Biden’s home and former private office. When the documents were discovered, Jacob said, they were immediately secured in a locked safe and reported to the National Archives. FBI agents then collected the documents.

Pence has said he was unaware the documents had been in his possession.

The National Archives has asked former presidents and vice presidents to recheck their personal records for any classified documents following the news that President Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence had documents in their possession after they left office.

Jan. 26, 2023

Material found in the boxes came mostly from Pence’s Naval Observatory vice presidential residence, while other material came from a West Wing office drawer.

“Let me be clear: Those classified documents should not have been in my personal residence,” Pence said at Florida International University last week. “Mistakes were made, and I take full responsibility.”

Pence said: “We acted above politics and put national interests first.”

The National Archives last month asked former U.S. presidents and vice presidents to recheck their personal records for any classified documents after news of the Biden and Pence discoveries.

The Presidential Records Act states that any records created or received by the president while in office are the property of the U.S. government and will be managed by the National Archives at the end of an administration.

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