Former Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday he was not made aware of any “broad-based effort to declassify documents,” by former President Trump, knocking down a key defense by Trump in which he denies that he mishandled and hoarded sensitive information after he left the White House.
“In my case, I was never made aware of any broad-based effort to declassify documents,” Pence said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.” “There is a process that the White House goes through to declassify materials. But I don’t have any knowledge of any broad-based directive from the president.”
Pence noted that this does not imply the order did not happen but that he was not made aware of it.
The GOP presidential contender’s comments come as ABC News reported Sunday that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told federal investigators probing the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case that he did not recall Trump ever ordering or discussing de-classifying documents.
The network reported that when the documents were first requested by the National Archives, Meadows offered to help Trump go through the boxes he had taken from the White House to find and return official records. Sources told ABC News Meadows said Trump did not accept the offer.
While saying he “would expect” Meadows to have known about the order, Pence said he hopes the case is not “getting back into the lane of leaks from the Justice Department.”
Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida in June over his alleged mishandling of classified documents. Pleading not guilty to charges, the former president has repeatedly claimed the documents were declassified when he brought them to Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House.
Pence echoed his previous arguments that the judgement over Trump’s actions should be left to the American people.
“Let’s let the former president have his day in court,” Pence said. “Let’s maintain a presumption of innocence in, in this matter and in the other matter that, you know, unfolded this week here in Georgia,” in reference to Trump’s indictment over an alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.
Source: The Hill