DOJ search of Pence’s office turns up no new classified docs

FILE - Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, Nov. 16, 2022, in New York. Pence is planning to fight a subpoena by the special counsel overseeing investigations into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
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Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department searched the office of former Vice President Mike Pence ‘s Washington advocacy group for several hours Friday as part of its investigation into the discovery of sensitive documents at the homes and offices of current and former top U.S. officials.

Pence adviser Devin O’Malley said no additional documents with classified markings were discovered during a “thorough and unrestricted search” of the office of Advancing American Freedom, the nonprofit group launched by Pence in 2021. One binder — believed to be part of Pence’s 2020 debate preparations — “with approximately three previously redacted documents” was taken by agents.

The search, described as consensual after negotiations between Pence’s representatives and the Justice Department, comes one week after the FBI searched Pence’s Indiana home and discovered one additional document with classified markings. That was after lawyers hired by Pence last month discovered what aides have described as a “small number” of potentially sensitive documents they say were inadvertently transported to Pence’s home in boxes at the end of the Trump administration.

Pence had asked his lawyers to conduct the search after an outcry over the discovery of classified documents at President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and office. He’s said repeatedly he was unaware they were there.

The willingness of Pence and Biden to permit the FBI to search their homes and offices stands in contrast to former President Donald Trump, who is under federal investigation for own handling of classified information and whose refusal to cooperate with officials last year resulted in the Justice Department having to get an unprecedented warrant to inspect his Florida property.

It also comes after Pence, who is widely expected launch a campaign for president in the coming months, announced that he will fight a subpoena to appear before a grand jury in a separate investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Pence has described the subpoena as “unprecedented” and “unconstitutional” and argues that he is protected from being called to appear because he was acting in his capacity as president of the Senate when he presided over the certification of the vote on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day that a Trump-supporting mob violently stormed the Capitol building.

A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Friday’s search.

“The vice president has consistently cooperated with appropriate authorities, has been fully transparent, and looks forward to the imminent conclusion of this matter,” O’Malley said.