FBI conducting search of Pence’s Indiana home for classified documents
"The search is expected to conclude Friday afternoon
The search was anticipated, and federal law enforcement and Pence’s legal team had coordinated the precise timing Friday.
Law enforcement is examining the property for any additional classified materials that may be stored there, according to an individual familiar with the search who spoke on the condition of anonymity to frankly discuss a sensitive matter. The search is expected to conclude in the afternoon.
Pence, who is contemplating a 2024 presidential bid, is in California, but a lawyer for the former vice president has been present at the Carmel, Ind., home while the search is underway.
The planned search follows revelations last month that the Pence had turned over to the FBI “a small number” of documents bearing classified markings that his lawyers discovered at his home.
Pence is the latest politician to face scrutiny for potentially mishandling classified materials after leaving elected office. The Justice Department currently has two separate criminal probes into classified documents found at President Biden’sand former president Donald Trump’s personal properties.
But the cases have key differences.
In Trump’s case, the former president appears to have resisted government attempts to obtain official documents for months, including after a grand jury subpoena demanded the return of any material marked classified. That led to the FBI obtaining a search warrant and executing an unannounced search of his property last August. In contrast, Biden’s lawyers said that they allowed law enforcement officials to search his properties.
So far, the search of Pence’s property appears akin to aspects of the Biden case, with Biden’s lawyers saying they are being forthcoming with law enforcement and allowed officials to search his properties.
In late January, a lawyer for Pence said that the former vice president brought in outside counsel with experience handling classified materials to search records stored in his Indiana home “out of an abundance of caution” after news broke that materials were discovered at Biden’s home.
The lawyer, Greg Jacob, said in a Jan. 18 letter to the National Archives that counsel “identified a small number of documents that could potentially contain sensitive or classified information interspersed throughout the records.” Jacob said that Pence was “ready and willing to cooperate fully.”
Jacob said that Pence gave the FBI permission to collect the classified materials on Jan. 19 and planned to deliver the boxes in which those documents were found to the National Archives on Jan 23.
In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland assigned veteran federal prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee day-to-day operations of the criminal probe of Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving the White House. Smith is also managing aspects of the Justice Department’s investigation of the events leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that are most closely linked to Trump.
In January, Garland appointed Robert Hur as a special counsel to oversee the Biden investigation.
The attorney general has not commented on the documents discovered at Pence’s home."