Former Vice President Mike Pence also kept classified files at his Indiana home. Pence was in the process of turning the documents over to the National Archives when the press uncovered the story, according to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports.
Pence’s attorney sent a series of letters to the National Archives where all presidential and vice presidential papers, documents, and items are kept.
But then the FBI went to the Pence residence to retrieve the documents, which had been moved to the former vice president’s safe at his personal home. Letters between the vice president’s attorney document that Pence was trying to find and follow the proper procedure for returning the two boxes of classified documents to the Archives. And four boxes of other items were returned Monday.
This shows a more likely scenario than first thought with President Joe Biden. Boxes moved in transition can be problematic. Ironically, VP Pence recently said:
‘The handling of classified documents very problematic. Clearly that did not happen in this (President Biden’s) case.’
Former Chair of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele commented on the news:
‘There’s a lot more we’re going to learn. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that we’ll find more documents at Pence’s home. ‘
Pundits agreed that this would not likely knock any of the three out of the running for president. Will there be three side-by-side special counsels for Pence and President Biden? And if so, would Pence’s special counsel be a Democrat given that President Biden’s special counsel is a Republican?
Senator Linsey Graham (R-SC) commented:
‘Clearly, we have a problem here. And what became a problem has become a national security problem. All you’ll find in my home are a bunch of Chick-Fillet bags on the floor.’
Pence found two boxes of documents on January 16th and secured them in a safe at his home. Then a series of letters between the attorney and the National Archives showed a timeline of the vice president trying to discover the appropriate manner of returning them to the Archives.
The new Pence discovery creates a similarity between Pence and Biden as opposed to Donald Trump.
The difficulty arises for Attorney General Merrick Garland now. A special counsel should only be appointed if there is an element of criminal intent, so the Pence discovery complicates matters. The Department of Justice (DOJ) asked for immediate possession of the former vice president’s documents, bypassing the National Archive altogether.
This discovery helps clarify the situation with President Joe Biden. Now there is a similarity between unintentional acts as compared to Trump who said that he declassified the top secret files with his mind and refused to give the documents back to the National Archives. The ex-president claimed:
‘They are mine.’
Pence let the FBI go through his home in Indiana along with his attorney, who has a security clearance to handle the classified documents. This was apparently a matter of sloppy packing or bookkeeping errors.
Additional clarity will need to be determined when the individual is an active candidate or in office. That means the issue will be a judgment call by AG Garland. Pence and Biden have similar situations, which helps the president. Now there is a distinction between inadvertent mistakes and clear crimes, as could well be the case with Trump.
Gloria Christie is a political journalist for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Find her here on Facebook. Or at Three White Lions, her book written in her own unique style with a twist of humor on Amazon Kindle Vella and the Gloria Christie Three White Lions podcast on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in progress).