Former Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday he had not been aware that classified documents were at his Indiana home and said he takes “full responsibility” for the security breach.
Pence, speaking at Florida International University in Miami, said a review was conducted of his personal records after classified documents were found at President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware.
“Along the way we determined that there was a small number of documents marked classified or sensitive interspersed in my personal papers,” he said. Pence said he was not aware the documents were there.
“Let me be clear: those classified document should not have been in my personal residence,” Pence said. “Mistakes were made and I take full responsibility,” he said.
Classified documents have also been found at the Florida home of Pence’s former boss, former President Donald Trump. Trump has entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and Pence has left the door open to a run.
Pence’s attorney Greg Jacob sent a letter to the National Archives on Jan. 18 notifying them of the documents and in a separate letter on Jan. 22 notified the Archives that the FBI came to the former vice president’s home to collect them.
“Our national security depends on the proper handling of classified and sensitive materials, and I know that when errors are made it’s important that they be resolved swiftly and disclosed,” Pence said.
Biden, a Democrat whose documents dated from his time as vice president, and Trump, who resisted turning over the items, leading to an FBI raid, are both facing special counsel investigations by the Justice Department over improper handling of classified materials.
During a presidential transition period, the records from each administration are supposed to be turned over to the legal custody of the National Archives. It is unlawful to knowingly or willfully remove or retain classified material.