DOJ closes Pence classified documents probe — and Trump lashes out

Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

The Justice Department has ended an investigation into former Vice President Mike Pence’s handling of classified documents discovered in his home, according to a letter sent by DOJ to Pence’s attorney and obtained Friday by POLITICO.

The letter, dated June 1, arrived just days before Pence is expected to launch a presidential bid. The Justice Department confirmed the authenticity of the letter but declined additional comment.

The department’s decision was first reported by CNN.

The announcement closes a chapter that began in January when Pence tapped an attorney to search his Indiana home for potential classified documents — a decision he made after a similar discovery was made at President Joe Biden’s private residence in Delaware.

Pence’s former vice presidential counsel, Greg Jacob, informed the National Archives that the search uncovered about a dozen records with classified markings in his residence. The Justice Department quickly intervened to take possession of the records, and the FBI would later search Pence’s residence for additional materials.

Immediately after the discovery of the records, Pence quickly indicated his willingness to cooperate with authorities and suggested he was unaware of the presence of the classified documents in his home.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, Robert Hur, to handle the Biden matter, but DOJ had remained silent about how the Pence matter would be treated. The letter suggests the Pence matter was handled on a separate track from Hur's probe.

Both discoveries followed the August 2022 FBI raid of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence to reclaim highly classified documents that the Justice Department indicated had been withheld from NARA and other investigators.

Trump reacted quickly to the news about Pence, trying to equate his conduct to his former vice president's.

"That’s great, but when am I going to be fully exonerated, I’m at least as innocent as he is," Trump wrote on Truth Social.

Trump is being probed not only for retaining highly sensitive material but for potentially seeking to obstruct the Justice Department's efforts to recover them — a probe that is the subject of special counsel Jack Smith's investigation, which appears to be nearing the final stages.