Justice Department won't pursue charges against Mike Pence over classified documents

Mike Pence
Mike Pence

WASHINGTON – Days before he announces his 2024 presidential campaign, Mike Pence is off the hook in his classified documents case.

The Justice Department has informed Pence that it won't pursue criminal charges because of classified documents found at his Indiana home, two people familiar with the matter said Friday.

Pence is scheduled to kick off his 2024 presidential campaign next week in Iowa.

The decision came as an inquiry continues into a “small number” classified documents found at President Joe Biden’s former office in Washington, D.C., and at his home in Delaware and into more than 300 classified records found at former President Donald Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago.

Special counsel Robert Hur’s inquiry into Biden's classified documents is running parallel investigation by special counsel Jack Smith into Trump. A contrast between the two was that Biden alerted authorities about the classified documents, while Trump’s were seized under subpoena and during an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.

In Biden’s case, his personal lawyers were vacating a former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement on Nov. 2 when they discovered a “small number” of classified documents. Biden had used the office after leaving office as vice president in 2017 until his presidential campaign in 2020.

The White House disclosed in January that a second set of documents was recovered from a storage space in the garage of his Wilmington home.

Trump has complained that FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago but the August search came after his lawyers certified all classified records had been returned under a June subpoena. FBI agents seized 11,000 records from Mar-a-Lago and retrieved a combined more than 300 classified records last year through National Archives letters in January, the June subpoena and the August search.

Trump has denied wrongdoing. He contends he was negotiating with the National Archives about which presidential records he could keep and that he declassified the secret records, despite the lack of documentation about that.

“I have the absolute right to do whatever I want with them,” Trump told a CNN town hall on May 10.

Trump, in a Truth Social post, said the Pence news was "great," and then protested his own investigation. "When am I going to be fully exonerated, I’m at least as innocent as he is," he said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Prosecutors won't pursue charges against Mike Pence over documents