Pence complicates GOP’s classified documents messaging

The discovery of classified documents at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana dwelling has thrown yet one more wrench in a weird saga that has now ensnared three of the highest candidates for president in 2024.

Why it issues: Politically, this makes issues much more sophisticated for the Republicans desirous to weaponize President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents.

  • Legally, it raises questions on over-classification — a long-running gripe from transparency advocates — in addition to precisely how frequent such a negligence is on the highest ranges of presidency.
  • “We have an epidemic of senior leaders taking classified [documents] dwelling. And we’ve to say categorically, whether or not it’s Republican or Democrat, it is all incorrect,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told NBC News, expressing assist for a third particular counsel to research Pence.

Zoom in: House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) — who launched an investigation the day after the Biden documents have been discovered, blasting the president for “doubtlessly violating the legislation” is now dealing with a credibility take a look at.

  • Comer issued a statement at present praising Pence for his transparency, saying he reached out to the committee and pledged full cooperation.
  • Other Republicans are prone to undertake an identical protection, making an attempt to attract a distinction between the way in which Biden and Pence disclosed the discoveries.

But some have put themselves within the awkward place of beforehand attacking the underlying conduct that each VPs — because it at present stands — seem to have engaged in.

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a brand new member of the Oversight Committee, said on Fox News on Jan. 9 that Biden “conceivably stole these documents” and didn’t have the facility to declassify data as vice chairman.
  • Even Pence himself has criticized Biden for the act of taking classified documents, calling it “a really critical matter” and insisting that he took no such supplies after the Trump administration ended.
Trump, probably with tongue-in-cheek, seems to defend Pence. Via Truth Social

Between the strains: CNN reports that former President Trump’s authorized staff views the invention of the Pence documents as a constructive improvement that would make it harder for the Justice Department to convey fees, citing linkage within the three instances.

  • But many legal experts say the alternative: Both Biden and Pence instantly contacted the National Archives and cooperated with the FBI after the documents have been discovered.
  • Trump, however, is accused of failing to show documents over for greater than a yr — even after dealing with a grand jury subpoena.
  • That distinction, which led to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, could additional pave the way in which for the obstruction of justice fees already at the heart of the Trump investigation.

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