Pence says he takes “full responsibility” for classified documents found at his home

Former Vice President Mike Pence said he takes “full responsibility” for the existence of classified documents at his Indiana home, speaking publicly for the first time since those documents were made public earlier this week.

CNN first reported, and Pence’s team quickly confirmed, that classified documents were found at his home in Carmel, Indiana. Sources told CBS News that the classified documents found in the middle of the month at Pence’s residence included briefings from foreign trips. Pence’s team turned the records over to authorities.

“These classified documents should not have been in my personal residence, mistakes were made,” Pence told a crowd in Miami on Friday. “And I take full responsibility. And I ask my counsel to cooperate with the National Archives, with the Department of Justice and with Congress to cooperate fully in any investigation,” Pence said Friday. “I know that when mistakes are made, it is important that they are quickly addressed and disclosed.”

Pence said it has been a “very humbling week for us, but I know we did the right thing” in handing over the documents and disclosing them publicly. The former vice president said he knows that the proper handling of classified information “is very important to the national interest.”

In the final weeks of the Trump administration, Pence said they “did a thorough review of all the documents” in the vice president’s office and residence, and he is “confident that it was done in a professional manner.”

“However, with news in recent weeks of the repeated disclosure of classified documents in President Biden’s personal residence, dating back to his service as Vice President, I simply thought out of an abundance of caution, it would be appropriate to review my personal records. at our citizens of the state of Indiana,” Pence said. “And we started that process.”

He added that a “small number of documents marked classified or sensitive” were “combined” with his personal papers. So Pence said his team turned the documents over to the FBI, notified the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and communicated to Congress.

The documents found in Pence’s residence come as the White House deals with the fallout from classified documents found at President Biden’s former office, and his home and garage in Wilmington, Delaware. The White House continues to stress that it is cooperating with investigators, as special counsel Robert Hur takes over the investigation. But Mr. Biden has taken a more defiant approach to the discovery of classified documents in his rooms.

Mr. Biden said last week that he has “no regrets” on the handling of classified documents since they were discovered. The president asked why the White House did not disclose the existence of the documents in November, sooner by-electiontold reporters he thinks they’ll find out “there’s nobody there.”

“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden replied. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Department of Justice. We are cooperating fully and look forward to getting this resolved quickly. I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there. I have no regrets. I’m following what Attorneys have been saying me that they want me to do. That’s exactly what we do. There’s nobody there.”

NARA has asked representatives of the last six former presidential administrations to comb through their personal records again to look for any classified or other presidential posts, according to the text of a letter obtained by CBS News. This request to review documents was prompted by documents marked as classified that were found in the residences of Biden, Pence and former President Donald Trump.

“The responsibility to comply with the PRA does not diminish after the end of an administration,” the letters state. “Therefore, we request that you conduct a review of all materials held outside NARA that relate to the administration for which you serve as a designated representative under the PRA to determine whether materials previously believed to be personal in nature may inadvertently contain Presidential or Vice Presidential positions subject to the PRA, whether classified or unclassified.”

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