Mike Pence Ends Silence on Classified Documents Found at His House: 'Mistakes Were Made'
Former Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that he takes “full responsibility” after about a dozen classified documents were found at his home in Indiana last week.
In his first public comments since the self-reported discovery, which was made public earlier this week, Pence said he hadn’t been aware that the documents were in his residence but acknowledged his lack of awareness wasn’t an excuse.
“Let me be clear: Those classified documents should not have been in my personal residence,” Pence said Friday at Florida International University in Miami, where he was talking about the economy and promoting his new book, “So Help Me God.”
“Mistakes were made, and I take full responsibility.”
The discovery of the classified documents was made at Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana, by an attorney for the former vice president, according to CNN. The revelation marked the latest in a string of recoveries of sensitive papers from the homes of current and former top U.S. officials.
The FBI and the Department of Justice have launched a review of the documents and how they wound up at Pence’s house, CNN reported.
The Justice Department already was investigating the discovery of classified documents in former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and at President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware and his former Washington office.
Pence’s public acceptance of responsibility over his handling of the documents marks a departure from the reactions of Trump and Biden in their cases.
Trump denounced the search of Mar-a-Lago as “one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration in American history” and suggested that investigators might have planted the documents.
Biden has said he was surprised to learn the documents had been found but had “no regrets” about how the public was informed.
The discovery of documents at Pence’s home came five months after he told The Associated Press that he did not knowingly take classified records with him when he left the vice presidency.
“No, not to my knowledge,” he said when asked if he had retained any such information.
The comment — which typically would be unremarkable for a former vice president — was notable at the time given that FBI agents had seized classified and top-secret information from Trump’s Florida estate on Aug. 8 while investigating potential violations of three different federal laws. Trump said the documents seized by agents were “all declassified.”
Pence said he decided to undertake a search of his home “out of an abundance of caution” after recent disclosures by Biden’s team that documents were found at his former office and in his Delaware home.
Pence said he had directed his counsel to work with the National Archives, Department of Justice and Congress and fully cooperate with reviews or any investigation.
The former vice president said national security depends on the proper handling of classified documents, but he hopes that people realize he acted swiftly to correct the error.
“We acted above politics and put national interests first,” he said.
Pence, who remains estranged from Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, incursion at the U.S. Capitol, is considering a 2024 White House challenge to his former boss, who announced his campaign in November.
Biden has said he intends to seek reelection in 2024, though he has yet to officially kick off his campaign.
Referring to a possible White House bid, Pence said he has been reflecting on the challenges the nation has. He said many accomplishments have been “dismantled” by the Biden administration, highlighting problems with immigration and the economy.
“We are giving powerful considerations on what might be next for us,” Pence said. “I am going to continue to travel all across this country. I am going to continue to listen and to reflect.”
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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