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About a dozen documents marked as classified have been found in former Vice President Mike Pence's home in Indiana, according to a new report on Tuesday.
Pence's lawyer discovered the material last week and turned it over to the FBI, CNNreported, after having conducted a search at Pence's request.
The FBI and the Justice Department are investigating. The National Archives also has been informed. It marks the third time classified material has been found on the private property of former high-ranking government officials.
The bombshell report comes as President Joe Biden's crisis was escalating as more and more classified material was found in his possession. Republicans have heavily criticized Biden for having the material and the House Oversight committee has launched an investigation.
It's unclear what material Pence had and whether the discovery of classified material in his possession will take the wind out of the sails for the House GOP and their hammering of Biden on it.
About a dozen classified documents found in Mike Pence's Indiana home
Pence bought the home in Carmel for $1.93 million
The findings also raise questions on how the government handles classified material and the packing up of administration officials after a presidency ends.
Pence and many other Republicans had accused the Justice Department of a double standard in how they handled Biden's case versus classified documents in Donald Trump's possession.
The documents were discovered in Pence's home in Carmel, Indiana, after the former vice president repeatedly said he didn't have any classified material in his possession.
Pence had asked his lawyer Greg Jacob to conduct the search out of an abundance of caution, CNN reported, and the attorney went through four boxes stored at Pence's house last week, finding a small number of documents with classified markings.
The lawyer said Pence was unaware he had the material.
Jacob immediately alerted the National Archives, which, in turn, told the Justice Department. Jacob wrote to the agency that a 'small number of documents bearing classified markings' were inadvertently boxed and transported to Pence's home.
He said that Pence immediately secured the documents in a locked safe. FBI agents later visited Pence's residence to collect the documents.
'Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,' Jacob wrote in the letter obtained by CNN. '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.'
The boxes originally went to a home the Pences had in Virginia and then went to the Indiana location after they purchased their residence there. Pence's Washington D.C. office also was searched but no classified material was discovered.
Pence and Karen Pence purchased the home for $1.93 million in May 2021. The 'picturesque' 10,300 square-foot home sits on a five-acre lot and has seven bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms and an in-ground pool, according to the listing for the home on realtor.com.
The lower level of the house features a media room next to a 'beautiful' handcrafted bar, another large sitting area and an area for a pool table.
Also on the lower level of the home is a gym room with an accompanying full bath next to it.
Pictures of the home, built in 2008 according to the listing, also show the home has four garages, and a stone fireplace on the main floor.
The purchase came not long after Pence signed a $3 million to $4 million publishing contract with Simon & Schuster to author two books in early April.
The home is located in the city of Carmel, which was recently named the second wealthiest city in the Midwest, according to a study by personal finance site nerdwallet.com
The spacious study with wood paneling and a fireplace in Pence's home
The lower level of the house features a media room next to a 'beautiful' handcrafted bar, another large sitting area, the listing for the home said
Pence has denied having classified material in his possession.
'I did not,' he told ABC News in November when asked if he took any classified documents with him when he left the Trump administration.
This was shortly after Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago mansion was raided by FBI agents who were seeking classified material from his administration.
'Well, there'd be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area,' Pence said at the time. 'But I will tell you that I believe there had to be many better ways to resolve that issue than executing a search warrant at the personal residence of a former president of the United States.'
The discovery of documents in Pence's possession comes after he criticized President Biden for having classified material.
Pence called it 'troubling' and accused federal agencies of having a 'double standard' when it came to handling Biden's situation and Trump's possession of classified documents.
He told Howard Hewitt a few weeks ago that the FBI was guilty of a 'massive overreach' in its raid on Trump's home.
'But having now created that standard and now abandoned that standard when the current president of the United States is found to have had classified documents in his possession after leaving office, I have no words right now,' he said, comparing their treatment between Trump and Biden.
The National Archives had requested material from Trump. All presidents turn over the documents to the federal government at the end of their tenure. Trump eventually handed over 15 boxes. The archives found classified material in them and, suspecting Trump hadn't handed everything over, turned to the Justice Department, which ultimately got a federal warrant to search the property.
Ultimately Trump was found to have hundreds of documents with classified documents in his possession.
In total, there have been five discoveries of classified materials in Biden's possession: at the Penn-Biden Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C.; in Biden's garage at his Wilmington, Del., home; one document discovered in his 'personal library' in the same home; four more documents found in his home; and then another six found when the Justice Department did another search of his Wilmington residence.
Biden turned over his documents when his lawyers found them and voluntarily gave the FBI access to his Wilmington, Delaware, home, to search for more. Those agents found six more classified documents on Friday after a 13-hour search of the home.
Ultimately, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to look into both Trump and Biden.
Earlier this month Pence described to Fox Business how classified materials were handled when he was vice president.
'Early in the morning, I received a presidential daily brief at the vice president's residence,' he said.
'I'd rise early. I'd go to the safe where my military aide would place those classified materials. I'd pull them out, review them. I'd receive a presentation (on) them and then, frankly, more often than not…I would simply return them back to the file that I'd received them in. They went in commonly into what was called a burn bag that my military aide would gather and then destroy those classified materials—same goes in materials that I would receive at the White House.'
He went on to add: 'The handling of classified materials and the nation's secret is a very serious matter and as a former vice president of the United States, I can speak from personal experience about the attention that ought to be paid to those materials when you're in office and after you leave office. And clearly that did not take place in this case.'