Documents marked confidential were discovered last week at the private residence of former US Vice President Mike Pence (2017-2021) in the state of Indiana, according to his lawyer.
“The additional records appear to be a small number of documents with classified marks that were inadvertently crated and transported to the former vice president’s personal home at the end of the last administration,” Pence’s attorney, Greg Jacob, said in a letter sent on the last week to the National Archive, responsible for preserving this type of material.
The lawyer said that “Pence was unaware of the existence of confidential or classified documents in his personal residence” and that he “understands the great importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and is ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate investigation.” .
Confronted with the information, a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the matter on Tuesday.
Pence, who held the US vice presidency under Donald Trump, had told the Associated Press agency in August that he did not take any classified information with him when he left office.
Asked directly if he had withheld any confidential information upon leaving office, Pence replied: “No, not that I know of.”
Pence is the new name to be added to the list of former rulers who will have kept in their possession confidential documents that should have been handed over to the National Archives.
The current President, Joe Biden, is also under scrutiny for keeping confidential documents from his time as Vice President (2009-2017) and Senator (1973-2009) in his private residence and office.
The former head of state, Donald Trump, when he left the White House took whole boxes of documents with him, although a law dating from 1978 obliges any President to hand over to the National Archives all his working documents, which include letters and messages from e-mail.