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- Donald Trump defended Pence after classified documents were discovered at the VP’s home.
- “Mike Pence is an innocent man,” the former president wrote in a social media post.
- A lawyer for Pence turned over the records to the FBI last week, according to multiple news reports.
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended former Vice President Mike Pence after around a dozen documents marked as classified were discovered at his Indiana home.
“Mike Pence is an innocent man,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social, shortly after the news broke. “He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!”
A lawyer for Pence found the records at Pence’s Carmel, Indiana, home and turned them over to the FBI last week, CNN first reported on Tuesday. The FBI is reportedly reviewing the documents and how they turned up at Pence’s home.
Trump’s reaction comes as he’s under criminal investigation over possibly mishandling classified materials after he left the White House. The FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and residence in Florida in August, finding roughly 100 documents with classified markings.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee the investigation in November, three days after Trump announced his 2024 presidential bid. The former president has heavily criticized the investigation and denied any wrongdoing in regard to the documents.
It also comes as classified documents have been found at President Joe Biden’s former office and his Delaware home several times this month. The most recent discovery of records, which were from Biden’s time as vice president, came during an FBI search of Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home on Friday.
Earlier this month, Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate how the records ended up there.
Pence joins Trump and Biden as potential 2024 presidential frontrunners who are entangled in classified-documents controversies. Pence has been a rumored candidate but has not yet announced a campaign. Biden has repeatedly said he intends to run but has not formally launched a bid.
Legal experts have distinguished Trump’s handling of classified records from Biden’s, arguing that Biden’s lawyers notified the authorities about the discovery whereas Trump’s team resisted turning the records over. Still, both Trump and Biden have caught flak over the revelation of the records at their residences.
Trump’s defense of Pence also comes as the two’s relationship has fractured following the 2020 election and the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
Trump, at the time, had sought to pressure Pence to challenge the results as Congress met to certify then-President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Pence dismissed the request, saying he had no constitutional authority to do so.
Since leaving office, Pence has said he may never “see eye to eye” with Trump on January 6, though he’s praised the work the two accomplished during their one term in the White House.