The Indiana home of former Vice President Mike Pence was searched by the FBI on Friday and at least one document marked as classified was recovered by the agents, according to NPR.
The agents who conducted the roughly five-hour search of the Pence home also discovered and took possession of six pages that were not marked as classified but were potentially official government documents that were subject to the Presidential Records Act and should have been stored with the National Archives.
NBC News reported that no warrant had been issued to authorize the FBI search of former Vice President Pence’s Indiana home, as the “consensual” search had been agreed to via negotiations between the Justice Department and Pence’s attorneys that set certain “ground rules” and limited the scope of the search of the property.
That scope involved “looking for documents that DOJ believed might be considered original documents that should have been sent to the National Archives,” according to the outlet’s unnamed sources, “which could explain the six pages of additional material that were taken.”
Devin O’Malley, an adviser to Pence, said in a statement that “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.”
“The vice president has directed his legal team to continue its cooperation with appropriate authorities and to be fully transparent through the conclusion of this matter,” the adviser added, as well as that Pence and his attorneys had “agreed to a consensual search of his residence that took place today.”
Pence “willing to cooperate fully” with authorities
As alluded to in O’Malley’s statement, and in light of the developing home-stored classified documents scandals for both former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden, Pence had hired “outside counsel” in January and tasked them with searching his home and office for any unauthorized materials that he may have been in possession of.
That preemptive search had uncovered a “small number” of classified documents that, per an attorney for Pence, had been “inadvertently boxed and transported” to the Indiana home at the conclusion of the Trump administration in January 2021.
The former VP “was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence” and, upon the discovery, “immediately” took action to secure the documents in a safe prior to being handed over to federal authorities a few days later.
Pence’s attorney further stated that “Vice President Pence understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry.”
Subpoenaed by the anti-Trump special counsel
That isn’t the only trouble brewing for former Vice President Pence, as just one day prior to that FBI search being conducted, Pence was served with a subpoena for documents and testimony by Special Counsel Jack Smith, according to ABC News.
That subpoena, which was issued after “months” of apparently fruitless negotiations between federal prosecutors and Pence’s attorneys, seeks documents and testimony that Special Counsel Smith had requested as part of his investigation into former President Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 that temporarily delayed the congressional certification of President Biden’s electoral victory.
The outlet suggested that the subpoena likely represented a “major escalation” and “advanced stage” of Smith’s probe that could also precipitate a “lengthy and contentious legal battle” if Pence decides to challenge the subpoena by asserting claims of executive privilege over the documents and testimony sought by the special counsel.
Given that Pence is widely viewed as a prospective candidate for the GOP nomination in 2024, these two developing areas of trouble will likely “complicate” the former vice president’s future plans to achieve his political ambitions.