(WASHINGTON) — Former Vice President Mike Pence said Friday he takes “full responsibility” for the classified documents found at his Indiana home.
“While I was not aware that those classified documents were in our personal residence, let me be clear: Those classified documents should not have been at my personal residence,” Pence said as he spoke at Florida International University.
“Mistakes were made, and I take full responsibility,” Pence said.
The classified documents were found in Pence’s home in Indiana last week and turned over to the FBI, his attorney Greg Jacob wrote in letters to the National Archives.
The discovery came on the heels of investigations into mishandling of classified documents by former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.
The National Archives has now asked the offices of recent former presidents and vice presidents to review personal documents for any outstanding classified material or presidential records that have not been properly returned to the government at the end of their administrations, according to a letter obtained Thursday by ABC News.
A spokesperson for former President Barack Obama said all classified records were submitted to the agency, and a spokesperson for former President George W. Bush said they were “confident” no materials were in their possession.
Pence’s attorney said the former vice president engaged outside counsel on Jan. 16 to review records stored at his home. It was then that a “small number of documents that could potentially contain sensitive or classified information interspersed throughout the records,” Jacob wrote to the National Archives.
“Vice President Pence immediately secured those documents in a locked safe pending further direction on proper handling from the National Archives,” Jacob wrote in the letter.
The materials were then turned over to the FBI, according to Jacob. He said they appeared to be “inadvertently boxed and transported” to Pence’s home, and that the former vice president was “unaware” that they were there.
The documents were under review by the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and the FBI, sources previously told ABC News.
Pence said Friday that he’s directed his counsel to work with the National Archives, the Department of Justice and Congress to “cooperate in any investigation.”
“Our national security depends on the proper handling of classified and sensitive materials, and I know that when errors are made, it’s important that they be resolved swiftly and disclosed,” Pence said.
“My only hope is that as the American people look at our conduct in this manner, that they see that we acted above politics and put the national interest first.”
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