FBI search of Mike Pence’s Indiana home finds new classified document

Similar discoveries made in properties owned by president Joe Biden and Donald Trump

FBI agents searched an Indiana property belonging to Mike Pence on Friday and found new official papers, including one with classified markings. The search was the latest step in a saga over the improper retention of classified documents by Pence, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The Washington Post reported that Pence, Trump’s former vice-president, was in California while the search was carried out at his home in Carmel, north of Indianapolis. A Pence lawyer was present, the paper said.

The US justice department did not immediately comment.

Pence issued a statement. Since the discovery of classified records at the Carmel property last month, a spokesperson said, Pence and his lawyers had “fully co-operated with the appropriate authorities and agreed to a consensual search of his residence that took place today.


“The Department of Justice completed a thorough and unrestricted search of five hours and removed 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.”

Similar discoveries were made at Delaware properties owned by Biden and an office in Washington DC the president used after his time as VP to Barack Obama.

Last August, a much larger number of documents were discovered at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida residence.

Amid strenuous attempts by Trump to obstruct authorities seeking retrieval, the Mar-a-Lago search was carried out via a search warrant. Trump and his supporters have since characterised the search as a “raid”, part of supposed victimisation by the former president’s political enemies.

In stark contrast, Biden and Pence have co-operated with authorities.

A lawyer for Pence, Greg Jacob, previously told the National Archives a “small number of documents” were “inadvertently boxed and transported” to Pence’s home after the end of the Trump administration in January 2021.

“Vice-President Pence immediately secured those documents in a locked safe pending further direction on proper handling,” Jacob wrote.

In Florida recently, Pence said: “Let me be clear: those classified documents should not have been in my personal residence.

“Mistakes were made, and I take full responsibility. We acted above politics and put national interests first.”

For the attorney general, Merrick Garland, co-operation and eager mea culpas do not lessen the political danger of the documents issue.

Biden, who nominated Garland, is expected to run for re-election in 2024. Trump is still the only declared candidate for the Republican nomination, but Pence is thought likely to run.

Special counsels appointed by Garland but operating independently of him are investigating Biden and Trump.

Robert Hur is investigating Biden’s retention of classified records. Jack Smith is investigating Trump’s retention of records and other matters, including his attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Garland has not commented on the Pence document discoveries.

But it emerged this week that Smith has served Pence a subpoena in relation to the investigation of Trump’s incitement of the deadly attack on Congress on 6 January 2021.

That was the day Pence presided over the certification of Biden’s victory over Trump, having rejected pleas to block it from Trump and his advisers.

In November, in an interview with NBC, Pence was asked if by fomenting an insurrection, Trump had committed a criminal act.

Pence said he did not “know if it is criminal to listen to bad advice from lawyers”, alleged malpractice at the justice department in its investigations of Trump, criticised the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago and said: “I think the American people join me in hoping we can move past this.”

Pressed on the matter, he conceded: “No one’s above the law.”

On Friday, commenting on the former vice-president’s extreme predicament, Joe Walsh, a former Republican congressman turned anti-Trump conservative, said: “Mike Pence did this to himself. For six years, he encouraged, enabled and fed the monster.

“Then for one day he did his job, and the monster got really angry. And now, nobody wants him. The monster’s fans don’t want him, and the monster’s opponents don’t want him. He did this to himself.”