by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 24, 2023) — Although previously at odds with his vice president over fallout from the 2020 election, following the reported discovery Tuesday of a number of classified documents at Mike Pence’s Indiana home, 45th President of the United States and 2024 presidential contender Donald J. Trump wrote on his Truth Social account that, “Mike Pence is an innocent man.”
“He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life,” Trump wrote. “Leave him alone!!!”
The revelation, reported earlier by CNN, follows the identification over the last two weeks of several troves of classified documents dating back to Biden’s vice-presidential and U.S. Senate years at two of his homes and a former think-tank office and the allegation arising last summer that Trump held numerous classified documents in his Mar-a-Lago residence from his presidency, resulting in an FBI raid August 8.
Trump has claimed he declassified all the documents he was storing under lock and key at the resort prior to leaving office on January 20, 2021 and that Biden has been treated differently since classified documents were found in his custody.
A Special Counsel has been appointed in both cases: Jack Smith for the Trump matter and Robert K. Hur for the Biden documents.
As for documents found in his homes and former think-tank office, Biden said, “We found a handful of documents … were filed in the wrong place, we immediately turned them over to the [National] Archives and the Justice Department. We’re fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly. 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.”
On January 18, Greg Jacob, an attorney for Pence, wrote to the National Archives, stating in part:
As Vice President Mike Pence’s designated representative to the National Archives, I write to request your assistance with collecting and transferring to the custody of the National Archives an additional set of Vice Presidential records. The additional records appear to be a small number of documents bearing classified markings that were inadvertently boxed and transported to the personal home of the former Vice President at the end of the last Administration. Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence. 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.
Following press reports of classified documents at the personal home of President Biden, out of an abundance of caution, on Monday, January 16, Vice President Pence engaged outside counsel, with experience in handling classified documents, to review records stored in his personal home. Counsel identified a small number of documents that could potentially contain sensitive or classified information interspersed throughout the records. Vice President Pence’s counsel, however, is unable to provide an exact description of the folders or briefing materials that may contain sensitive or classified information because counsel did not review the contents of the documents once an indicator of potential classification was identified. Vice President Pence immediately secured those documents in a locked safe pending further direction on proper handling from the National Archives.
Trump and Pence disagreed over Pence’s role in the counting of the electoral votes from each state on January 6, 2021, at the constitutionally-mandated joint session of Congress, during which multiple members of the U.S. House objected to the results reported from Arizona and Pennsylvania, seconded as required by a U.S. senator. The session was interrupted by intruders who were met by a reportedly unprepared and ill-equipped U.S. Capitol Police force, and tragically civilians Ashli Babbitt, Roseann Boyland, Benjamin Phillips and Kevin Greeson lost their lives that day.
It was initially misreported that USCP Officer Brian Sicknick was killed as the result of having been struck in the head with a fire extinguisher during the melee while in fact, according to the medical examiner’s report, he died hours later after experiencing two strokes.
A former congressman and Indiana governor, Pence is reportedly considering declaring his 2024 candidacy for president. According to a spokesman quoted by USA Today on December 27, Pence had not filed documents with the FEC to run for the office.