Republican senators expressed surprise and confusion after learning of the discovery of classified material at former Vice President Mike Pence’s home.
“What the heck?” said Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), adding, “I don’t get it.” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) agreed.
According to Pence’s attorney, a small number of classified documents were “inadvertently boxed and transported” to his home following his tenure as Vice President, and Pence was unaware of their existence.
Mike Pence Shocker
The legal team voluntarily turned them over to the National Archives and Records Administration. This is in stark contrast to former President Donald Trump’s months-long refusal to return classified material stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
This comes after classified material was discovered at President Joe Biden’s home and offices, including from his time as a senator.
The news shocked lawmakers, who proposed reexamining the government’s classification process and reviewing how officials interact with sensitive documents.
Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) intends to request an intelligence review and damage assessment of the classified documents found at Pence’s home in order to determine whether there are any national security concerns.
The FBI raid on President Joe Biden’s home and the discovery of more classified material heightened the gravity of his secret documents scandal and exacerbated the political fallout.
Biden’s lawyers argued that the search on Friday demonstrated his cooperation with a special counsel’s investigation, implicitly distinguishing him from ex-President Donald Trump’s behaviour in his own classified documents scandal.
However, the reality of FBI agents searching the private residence of a sitting president remains extraordinary, despite the White House’s efforts to minimise it. It raised new concerns about why Biden still had classified information from his time as vice president; how material, which is typically handled with extreme care by federal employees, ended up at his private residence; and whether it was safe from prying eyes in the years it was there.