In the letter, Jacob stated that “counsel found a tiny number of documents that could possibly contain sensitive or classified materials information intermingled throughout the records.”
After hearing about the items discovered at Biden’s house, Jacob wrote in a letter dated Jan. 18 to the National Archives that Pence had hired an outside attorney to evaluate records kept in his home “out of an abundance of caution.”
In the absence of further guidance on appropriate treatment from the National Archives, Vice President Pence “immediately safeguarded those records in a closed safe,” he said. When it was established that the documents were classified, Pence’s attorney did not review their contents, according to the letter.
In the letter dated Jan. 18 to the National Archives, Jacob stated that Pence had hired outside counsel to evaluate papers kept in his house “out of an abundance of caution” in response to news of the materials discovered at Biden’s residence.
Jacob stated in the letter that “counsel found a small number of documents that may contain potentially sensitive or classified materials intermingled throughout the records.”
Vice President Pence “immediately safeguarded those records in a locked safe” as he awaited more guidance from the National Archives on how to handle them correctly, he added. The letter said that after the documents were discovered to be tagged as classified, Pence’s attorney did not review their contents.
Jacob claimed that the Justice Department “bypassed the established protocols and requested direct possession” of the records at Pence’s home in a different letter dated Jan. 22.
The documents kept in the safe were removed by FBI operatives on Jan. 19 at 9:30 p.m. after the US former vice president gave his approval, according to Jacob.
The Justice Department is conducting special counsel investigations into Biden and Trump for improper handling of classified materials. Biden’s documents, which were from his time as vice president, and Trump’s refusal to turn over the items, which prompted an FBI raid, are both related to that period of time.
The U.S. National Archives is legally obligated to receive the records from each administration during a presidential transition period. It is forbidden to intentionally erase or hold onto secret information. Insufficiently storing and protecting classified information puts the nation’s security at risk in case it falls into the wrong hands.
The Pence finding would lessen the political repercussions for Biden, who last autumn blasted Trump for his handling of secret information, leading to accusations of hypocrisy when records at his own office and garage were discovered. The matter has turned into a political burden for both men, who could run against one another in the 2024 presidential election.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a supporter of Trump and a critic of Biden, asserted that he did not believe any of the three men were trying to purposefully jeopardize national security.
“We obviously have a problem though. So maybe, once everything is said and done, we’ll see that perhaps we overclassify some things, which could contribute to the issue “said he. What was once a political issue for Republicans is now a threat to national security.
The discovery of the documents at Pence’s residence was first reported by CNN.
When asked about potential classified records or searches, a spokeswoman for US former vice President Barack Obama told TradingTwist that his office had received a “clean bill of health” from the National Archives.
After leaving the White House, the George W. Bush administration “handed over all Presidential records, both classified and unclassified,” according to Bush spokesman Freddy Ford.