mike pence looking down
Photo: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Mike Pence was found to have classified documents at his home after leaving the White House in 2021.

The news comes after documents were found at the Penn Biden Center and in President Biden's home, leading Biden to reach out to the DOJ and the National Archives to ensure the information was returned. Like Biden, Pence contacted the FBI to turn over the documents he had.

While the Justice Department hasn't announced a special counsel for Pence yet, the FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division revealed that they are now investigating how the documents came to be at Pence's new home in Carmel, Indiana.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters that the only thing that might be at his home is a bunch of fast-food bags.

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"The bottom line is I don't know how this happened and they need to get to the bottom of it. I don't believe for a minute that Mike Pence is intentionally trying to compromise national security. I don't think that about Biden and Trump. But we've got a problem here. Maybe we're over-classifying things."

He went on to tell the media, "what was a political problem for Republicans is now a national security problem for the country."

Graham also told Raw Story that there should "totally" be a review of classification.

"I think a bunch of this stuff that is classified is probably stuff that shouldn't be classified. But we'll find out," he said. "I don't know how you take 'em out of the Capitol. I don't know how you do that. But the president and the vice president are totally different. I don't know."

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One of the things found goes back to Biden's time in the U.S. Senate, which ended in 2009 when he became the vice president. Graham's comments about the classification system poses the question some national security experts have asked about whether the documents were "re-classified" later on, after not being classified before.

“I’ve known President Biden for a long time. I would be shocked if there’s anything sinister [with his handling of documents," Graham did explain.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was asked about the Pence documents but refused to comment saying, "You're telling me something brand new" and rushing away with a staffer.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told Raw Story, "I would have thought a year ago when this came up that anyone who had these jobs would go back and check. Check your closets!"

He agreed that there had been a discussion with Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) about the over-classification of documents.

"But that is a future solution, as opposed to 'the rules are the rules' at this point," said Warner. "So, there's got to be a — this is a problem."

He also said that there should be a briefing on the Pence documents along with the Trump and Biden documents.

"And my concern is, that the default answer is, 'Once we've made a special counsel....' Well, I don't want to know the details of the case," Warner concluded, noting that he needs to know if anyone has been compromised by possessing these documents.

When Raw Story caught up with Wyden to ask him about Warner's comments, he explained, "Avril Haines, the head of Director of National Intelligence has been very instructive in working with us in a bipartisan way. And she has been the first director to recognize — and Sen. Moran and I have been interested in this for a long time. She's been the first director to recognize that this mess of a classification system, which seems to come from the Dark Ages, harms national security. When we started bringing up everybody's like 'oh, here comes Ron. Everyone knows Ron is a privacy hawk and a liberties guy and the like. What's now become clear is Sen. Moran and I have finally cleared the bar that was central to our argument that the classification system is now such a mess it is harming national security."

He said that there is a fear that in the future they'll have a difficult time classifying things that should be classified.

"I'm on the committee and we have a very strict rule that I think should apply to everyone which is never take documents out of the room," Wyden said. "Now we need to sort through all the information we've got. One point I will make is that President Biden has cooperated voluntarily and that has not been the case with Trump."

It appears, according to the early reports, that Mike Pence has also cooperated with authorities. Republican Sen. Ken Cramer (ND) joked that he can see Pence saying to himself, "You know, we should probably just look at everything and make sure we don't have any... I said this morning, I wonder if [former Vice President] Dan Quayle is going, 'Marilyn? We don't...?'"

He went on to say that there should be a "scrubbing" and said that even some presidential libraries should be — should have the house cleaned and see what the heck is in there. We might learn a lot."

In the case of presidential libraries, the papers from those administrations are often kept by National Archives staff working at the libraries to handle the documents on sight. It's the reason that Donald Trump has falsely claimed that Barack Obama "stole 30 million documents."

In reality, the National Archives explained, those documents were handed to the NARA in accordance with federal law in 2017, just as they had in previous years with previous presidents.

"NARA securely moved these records to temporary facilities that NARA leased from the General Services Administration (GSA), near the locations of the future Presidential Libraries that former Presidents built for NARA," said the Archives. "All such temporary facilities met strict archival and security standards, and have been managed and staffed exclusively by NARA employees. Reports that indicate or imply that those Presidential records were in the possession of the former Presidents or their representatives, after they left office, or that the records were housed in substandard conditions, are false and misleading."

Cramer also implied something strange was afoot because the NARA knew about Trump's documents but didn't know about Bidens. In Trump's case, it has been reported that his documents were not only considerable in number, but they were things that had been broadly reported that the Archives didn't have. An example of that would be the letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un.