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FBI searches Mike Pence residence, finds another classified document

By Sarah May on
 February 11, 2023

After having discovered classified documents there last month, the FBI conducted a second search of former Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana home on Friday, turning up an additional item bearing the relevant markings, as the Associated Press reports.

According to Devin O'Malley, an adviser to Pence, the search was “thorough and unrestricted” and lasted approximately five hours, yielding the aforementioned classified document along with six other pages that did not have those markings, but were not discovered during the FBI's January visit.

“Unrestricted” search

According to the AP, police blocked off the roads near Pence's home in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel until FBI agents involved in the search departed the premises just after 2:00 p.m.

Though the former vice president and his wife were out of town at the time of the search, a legal representative for Pence was present and provided agents with what was described as unrestricted access to look for anything bearing classified markings, documents that lacked markings but could still be considered classified, and anything else that could fall under the purview of the Presidential Records Act.

O'Malley noted that Pence has instructed his lawyers to facilitate full cooperation with the Justice Department's ongoing investigation and to “be fully transparent through the conclusion of this matter.”

That position was reiterated in a statement O'Malley gave to Fox News Digital in which he said, “Following the discovery and disclosure of a small number of potentially classified documents that had inadvertently been transported to his home in Indiana, Vice President Pence and his legal team have fully cooperated with the appropriate authorities and agreed to a consensual search of his residence that took place today.”

“Full responsibility” accepted

After last month's discovery of classified materials at Pence's home, the former Vice President stepped forward to admit fault and take “full responsibility” for the situation, as The Hill noted at the time.

With the findings coming close on the heels of revelations about President Joe Biden's possession of classified materials at the Washington, D.C. office of his University of Pennsylvania-affiliated think thank and at his Wilmington, Delaware home, Pence left no question as to his willingness to accept accountability on the issue.

The AP reported last month that Pence attorney Greg Jacob had written to the National Archives explaining that documents had been found at his client's home, adding that the former vice president had been “unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence” until a search was launched after the Biden scandal emerged.

Jacob continued, declaring that Pence “understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information” and was ready and willing to cooperate completely with “any appropriate inquiry.”

Forthright response

In the wake of the initial document discovery, Pence made a point of expressing contrition over the problematic findings, offering additional details of what occurred to Fox News, as The Hill noted.

Breaking down what led to the documents ending up in his Indiana home, Pence said, “During the closing days of the [Trump] administration, when materials were boxed and assembled, some of which were shipped to our personal residence, mistakes were made.”

“We were not aware of it at the time until we did the review just a few short weeks ago. But I take full responsibility for it, and we're going to continue to support every appropriate inquiry into it,” Pence added.

“Let me be clear: Those classified documents should not have been in my personal residence,” Pence insisted. “Mistakes were made, and I take full responsibility.”

Approaches diverge

The swiftly forthcoming approach to document discoveries embodied by Pence stands in stark contrast to the tack taken by Biden, who has at times appeared incredulous as to why reporters have any interest at all in the topic.

During a joint appearance with California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) late last month, Biden said he had full confidence about the way he and his lawyers have handled the situation and downplayed his potential culpability in the matter, as The Hill further noted.

“I think you're going to find there's nothing there. I have no regrets. I'm following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. It's exactly what we're doing. There's no there there,” Biden stated.

As the 2024 presidential field continues to slowly take shape, it could be that Pence – who has already signaled his possible interest in a run for the Republican nomination – is getting out in front of the documents issue in a way Biden has not as a means to positively distinguish himself from a key potential rival.