‘What the hell?’: Republican senators shocked Mike Pence had classified documents

‘What the hell?’: Republican senators shocked Mike Pence had classified documents

Republican senators were shocked to learn of the discovery of classified material at the Indiana home of former Vice President Mike Pence, in another twist involving senior US government officials and their handling of confidential documents.

“What the hell?” Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) told reporters after CNN first broke the story Tuesday.

“I don’t get it,” added Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who often handles classified information as part of his job on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Anyone who deals with classified materials knows that they must be kept in a secure place and not available to our adversaries by placing them in a place that is easy to penetrate. So, it’s not good,” Cornyn added.

Pence’s lawyers discovered “a small number” of documents with classification marks that were “inadvertently packaged and transported” to his home after his tenure as vice president, according to an attorney for Pence.

Pence was unaware of their existence, the attorney said, and his legal team voluntarily turned them over to the National Archives and Records Administration, an approach that stands in stark contrast to the way former President Donald Trump and his team refused for months to return classified material. located on his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Trump also compared the FBI agents who conducted a search of his estate to Nazi Germany’s secret police.

News of the Pence documents comes after the discovery of classified material in the home and offices of President Joe Biden, including from his time as a senator. The Justice Department has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Biden’s handling of documents with classified marks, and the White House maintains that the loss of him was inadvertent.

But the fact that at least three top US officials from both major parties had apparently mishandled classified information generated astonishment on Capitol Hill, as well as many jokes.

“I can understand that the president has documents… but a vice president or a senator? I mean, you’re not that important. Let’s go,” Tuberville told HuffPost when asked about Pence’s disclosure.

“It’s incompetence, not paying enough attention, or you’re doing it on purpose,” he added.

“What the hell is happening here?” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters when asked for his reaction to the news. He cited a “systemic problem” within the executive branch over the handling of classified information.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) joked that his lawyers had “reviewed my files and found Jimmy Hoffa’s remains,” referring to wild conspiracy theories about the union leader’s disappearance in 1975.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (RN.D.) suggested that former Vice President Dan Quayle may need to conduct a thorough search of his belongings, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) said that “the only thing I think you’ll find in my house It’s a bunch of Chick-fil-A bags on the floor.”

Joking aside, several senators also suggested reexamining the government’s classification process due to the tendency to overclassify information, as well as reviewing the way officials interact with sensitive documents.

“I just can’t explain it,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “If it’s a bad staff job, so be it. But ultimately, elected officials must be held accountable.”

The revelation that Pence kept classified documents at his home has undermined weeks of republican attacks against Biden. Some House Republican lawmakers had even He suggested that the president violated the Espionage Act.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he planned to seek an intelligence review and damage assessment of classified documents from the Pence home, as he did those found. at Biden’s home and offices, to check for potential national security issues.

“It is a serious matter for any government official to mishandle classified documents,” Turner tweeted.

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