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Senators on both sides of the aisle were caught off guard Tuesday by the news that classified documents were found at the Indiana home of former Vice President Mike Pence, materials that were ultimately turned over to the FBI.
An attorney for Pence told the National Archives that the former vice president used outside counsel to review records stored at his personal home after several classified documents were found at the home and a former office of President Biden. The Pence news left some Senate lawmakers floored over yet another discovery of classified documents belonging to a former vice president.
“I don’t know what the hell is going on around here. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen,” Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Hill. “I have no reason to believe it’s nefarious in any way, but clearly at the executive branch they’re just packing boxes.”
“I don’t get it,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters. “Anybody that deals with classified materials knows that they have to be maintained in a secure place and not available to our adversaries by putting them in a place that’s easy to penetrate. So — that’s not good.”
“I don’t know how this happens, but obviously it’s something that needs to be corrected,” Cornyn added.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said there appears to be a “cavalier attitude” at the White House regaurding the handling of such materials.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) recalled Pence’s recent appearance on Fox, where he “detailed every step of the process that was involved in his viewing of classified documents during his time as vice president, which included Pence telling the host that some materials were put in a burn bag after he viewed them,” The Hill reported.
“It sounded like a very nice routine for making sure that you don’t hang onto things. … A nice routine would be a good way to avoid problems like this,” Cramer said, adding that “clearly” it wasn’t enough.
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) gave Biden the benefit of doubt over his files, saying, “”I’ve known President Biden for a long time…I’d be shocked if there’s anything sinister here.”
After classified documents were found with Pence, Graham said, “Clearly we have a problem.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham on Biden Document Scandal:
GRAHAM: “I’ve known President Biden for a long time…I’d be shocked if there’s anything sinister here.” pic.twitter.com/4uHqAkxnOA
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 24, 2023
“Clearly we have a problem” Sen. @LindseyGrahamSC says about classified documents found at the home of former VP Mike Pence, after similar discoveries connected to Pres. Biden and former President. Trump caused controversy. #NexstarDC pic.twitter.com/nb9QHY22GK
— Hannah Brandt (@HannahBrandt_TV) January 24, 2023
Rubio told reporters that the subject of the wayward documents will likely come up on Wednesday when they meet with Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to discuss unrelated topics during a briefing that is closed to the public.
Rubio, along with Mark Warner (D-Va.), Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, requested information from Haines after the FBI searched the home of former President Donald Trump in August.
So far, their requests have not yielded much.
“So far, we’ve really had no reaction or response or any more information,” Rubio noted. “But we will have answers to these, one way or another, they will have to give us answers.”
— The Hill (@thehill) January 25, 2023
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