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DOJ searches Pence group's offices, finds no classified documents

Justice Department investigators on Friday searched the offices of former Vice President Mike Pence’s political advocacy group as part of a review of his handling of classified documents, a spokesperson said.

Investigators did not find any new records with classified markings during their search of Advancing American Freedom’s office in Washington, D.C., Pence adviser Devin O’Malley said in a statement. They took one binder with “approximately three previously redacted documents.”

Those documents are believed to be from Pence’s 2020 debate preparations, a person familiar with the matter said.

“The vice president has consistently cooperated with appropriate authorities, has been fully transparent, and looks forward to the imminent conclusion of this matter,” O’Malley said in a statement.

Friday’s search offered federal agents unrestricted access to the offices of Advancing American Freedom. The search took “several hours,” and a member of Pence’s legal team was present throughout.

The FBI last week searched Pence’s home in Indiana after a small number of documents with classified markings were found there last month. Last week’s search turned up one additional document with classified markings.

Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, had notified the National Archives on Jan. 18 that a small number of documents with classified markings were found at the former vice president’s Indiana home. Pence was not aware that the documents were there, Jacob said.

Officials had searched Pence’s home for classified documents out of an abundance of caution after sensitive government materials were found at President Biden’s home in Wilmington, Del., and his office from when he worked at the Penn-Biden Center in D.C.

The Pence documents were turned over to federal authorities the next day, along with two other boxes with copies of administration records, Jacob said.

The Justice Department last week was given unrestricted access to Pence’s Indiana home for the search, which had the same scope as the search of Biden’s home and office. Pence was not present for that search, as he was on the west coast after the birth of his second and third grandchildren.

That search yielded 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.

Pence previously said “mistakes were made” while packing up materials from his time as vice president, and he vowed to cooperate with federal officials on the matter. He had previously criticized Biden for having classified materials from his time as vice president at his home.

The review of his handling of classified documents comes as both Biden and former President Trump are under scrutiny for their handling of classified materials, though their cases are different.

Pence and Biden immediately alerted authorities about the discovery of documents, while Trump resisted turning them over for several months. Trump also had more documents in his possession with classified markings than Biden or Pence, and only Pence’s team proactively notified the press within days of their discovery.

The former vice president is also simultaneously caught up in a Justice Department investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He said this week he would fight a subpoena for testimony in the case, even if it meant taking it to the Supreme Court.

Pence is mulling a potential 2024 presidential campaign, with a decision about whether to run expected in the coming months. The former vice president spent this week in Minnesota and Iowa meeting with parents’ rights groups pushing back on transgender-affirming policies in schools.

—Updated at 2:47 p.m.

Source: The Hill

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