Pence Says He Did Not Take Classified Material, Calls For ‘Unprecedented Transparency’ After Mar-A-Lago Attack

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Former Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that he will not take any classified information or equipment with him after he leaves office in January 2021.

The comment came as FBI officials found classified and “top secret” information in boxes of documents during a raid last week at former President Donald Trump’s private Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. The raid was part of a larger investigation into whether Trump mishandled classified information or violated the Espionage Act.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Pence was specifically asked if he had any such documents or information.

“No, I don’t know,” Pence replied.

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Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa.
(AP Photo/Charlie Niebergal)

The former president, who some believe could pursue the Republican nomination for president in 2024, said he would not rush to judge Trump on the FBI’s findings.

“I honestly don’t want to prejudge until we know all the facts,” Pence said of the attack. He also called for “unprecedented action” for transparency by the Justice Department.

“The anxiety felt by millions of Americans can only be resolved in daylight,” he continued. “I know this is not the norm in an investigation. But this is an unprecedented move by the Justice Department and I think it deserves unprecedented transparency.”

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The former vice president also mentioned Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney’s primary loss to Trump-endorsed challenger Harriet Hageman. Cheney is a fierce critic of Trump and is one of the Republicans on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

“The people of Wyoming have spoken,” Pence replied, walking his typical path of addressing the issue without badmouthing his former boss or disparaging Republicans who supported her. “And, you know, I agree with their judgment about the representation they want on Capitol Hill.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence walks through a building of various industries during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa.
(AP Photo/Charlie Niebergal)

“And I appreciate the conservative stance that Congresswoman Cheney has taken over the years,” he added. “But I was disappointed from the beginning with the partisan taint of the January 6 committee.”

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The committee has repeatedly called former Trump administration officials to testify on the events of January 6, 2021, to determine whether Trump had a role in advocating the attack on the Capitol building that resulted in several deaths.

Committee members also sought Pence’s testimony before finalizing their investigative report next month.

“Beyond my concerns about the partisan nature of the January 6 committee, there are deeper constitutional issues to consider,” he said. “No Vice President has been called to testify before the United States Congress.”

The interview comes as Pence spends two days in Iowa, the state where candidates running for president typically begin its caucus primary elections. Iowa caucus winners typically use that early momentum to boost fundraising and gain polling leads that will help them in other state primaries.

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