Former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush turned over all their classified documents to the National Archives, their offices said on Wednesday.
Representatives of the four former commanders-in-chief said all classified materials were given to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) after each man left the White House.
The statements come as President Joe Biden’s administration has become engulfed in a crisis over having classified documents and former Vice President Mike Pence was revealed to have his own stash of classified material.
Former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush turned over all their classified documents to the National Archives, their offices said
‘Consistent with the Presidential Records Act, all of President Obama’s classified records were submitted to the National Archives upon leaving office. NARA continues to assume physical and legal custody of President Obama’s materials to date,’ Obama’s office said.
‘All of President Clinton’s classified materials were properly turned over to NARA in accordance with the Presidential Records Act,’ said Clinton’s office.
‘That search was conducted before he left the White House, when all of his Presidential records – classified and unclassified – were turned over to the National Archives,’ said a statement from Bush’s office, speaking for Geoge W. and his late father, George H.W. Bush.
Representatives for former vice presidents Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle told CNN none of the men are holding classified material.
The National Archives, meanwhile, is weighing whether to ask all the living former presidents and vice presidents to review their personal records to verify that there are no classified materials inadvertently still in their possesion, the Washington Post reported.
Questions arose about what former top-ranking government officials may have classified documents among their papers after it was revealed Thursday that about a dozen classified documents were found in Pence’s Indiana home.
About a dozen classified documents were found in Mike Pence’s Indiana home
The finding of the classified material raised questions on how the government handles such information and the packing up of administration officials after a presidency ends.
Republican Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida told Fox News that the transition process ‘is broken.’
‘But I think the difference with Biden here is just how long this goes back,’ he said on Tuesday.
And Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox that ‘when it’s all said and done maybe we are overclassifying things, that may be part of the problem. But count me in for getting this fixed.’
Pence’s lawyer discovered the material when conducting a search at Pence’s request last week. The boxes was immediately turned over to the FBI and the Justice Department is investigating.
It is the third time classified documents have been found on the private property of a recent president or vice president and comes as special counsels are investigating Joe Biden and Donald Trump over similar incidents.
Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, said in his letter to the National Archives, that the former vice president had ‘engaged outside counsel, with experience in handling classified documents’ to review records stored at his home on Jan. 16 ‘out of an abundance of caution’ amid the uproar over the discovery of documents at Biden’s home.
FBI agents visited Pence’s residence the night of Jan. 19 at 9:30 p.m. to collect the documents that had been secured. The vice president was in Washington, DC for an event, at the time.
A total of four boxes containing copies of administration papers —- two in which ‘a small number’ of papers bearing classified markings were found, and two containing ‘courtesy copies of vice presidential papers’ — were discovered, according to the letter. Arrangements were made to deliver those boxes to the National Archives on Monday.
Republican Congressman James Comer of Kentucky and chair of the House Oversight Committee, said Pence reached out to offer his cooperation with the congressional panel.
‘Former Vice President Pence’s transparency stands in stark contrast to Biden White House staff who continue to withhold information from Congress and the American people,’ he said in a statement.
The White House wouldn’t weigh in on whether a special counsel should investigate Pence’s findings.
‘That’s for the Department of Justice to decide,’ said press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday.
Pence bought the home in Carmel for $1.93 million
The documents were discovered in Pence’s home in Carmel, Indiana, after the former vice president repeatedly said he didn’t have any classified material in his possession.
Pence told the AP in August that he did not take any classified information with him when he left office.
Asked directly if he had retained any such information, he said, ‘No, not to my knowledge.’
The boxes originally went to a home the Pences had in Virginia and then went to the Indiana location after they purchased their residence there. Pence’s Washington D.C. office also was searched but no classified material was discovered.
Pence and Karen Pence purchased the home for $1.93 million in May 2021. The ‘picturesque’ 10,300 square-foot home sits on a five-acre lot and has seven bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms and an in-ground pool, according to the listing for the home on realtor.com.
The lower level of the house features a media room next to a ‘beautiful’ handcrafted bar, another large sitting area and an area for a pool table.
Also on the lower level of the home is a gym room with an accompanying full bath next to it.
Pictures of the home, built in 2008 according to the listing, also show the home has four garages, and a stone fireplace on the main floor.
The purchase came not long after Pence signed a $3 million to $4 million publishing contract with Simon & Schuster to author two books in early April.
The home is located in the city of Carmel, which was recently named the second wealthiest city in the Midwest, according to a study by personal finance site nerdwallet.com
The spacious study with wood paneling and a fireplace in Pence’s home
The lower level of the house features a media room next to a ‘beautiful’ handcrafted bar, another large sitting area, the listing for the home said
Pence, in the past, denied having classified material in his possession.
‘I did not,’ he told ABC News in November when asked if he took any classified documents with him when he left the Trump administration.
This was shortly after Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion was searched by FBI agents who were seeking classified material from his administration.
‘Well, there’d be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area,’ Pence said at the time. ‘But I will tell you that I believe there had to be many better ways to resolve that issue than executing a search warrant at the personal residence of a former president of the United States.’
Former President Donald Trump, who is under investigation for keeping classified documents at his home in Mar-a-Lago, is defending his former VP, Mike Pence after documents were found in his home last week
After ignoring requests to turn over presidential records, the Department of Justice authorized a warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. As a result of the search, a Special Counsel to oversee the probe was appointed.
A photo of documents seized during the Aug. 8 FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The probe into the presence of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago continues.
The discovery of documents in Pence’s possession comes after he criticized President Biden for having classified material.
Pence called it ‘troubling’ and accused federal agencies of having a ‘double standard’ when it came to handling Biden’s situation and Trump’s possession of classified documents.
He told Howard Hewitt a few weeks ago that the FBI was guilty of a ‘massive overreach’ in its raid on Trump’s home.
‘But having now created that standard and now abandoned that standard when the current president of the United States is found to have had classified documents in his possession after leaving office, I have no words right now,’ he said, comparing their treatment between Trump and Biden.
The National Archives had requested material from Trump. All presidents turn over the documents to the federal government at the end of their tenure. Trump eventually handed over 15 boxes. The archives found classified material in them and, suspecting Trump hadn’t handed everything over, turned to the Justice Department, which ultimately got a federal warrant to search the property.
Ultimately Trump was found to have hundreds of documents with classified documents in his possession.
President Joe Biden’s handling of classified information is currently under review by a special counsel appointed by the Department of Justice.
In total, there have been five discoveries of classified materials in Biden’s possession: at the Penn-Biden Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C.; in Biden’s garage at his Wilmington, Del., home; one document discovered in his ‘personal library’ in the same home; four more documents found in his home; and then another six found when the Justice Department did another search of his Wilmington residence.
Biden turned over his documents when his lawyers found them and voluntarily gave the FBI access to his Wilmington, Delaware, home, to search for more. Those agents found six more classified documents on Friday after a 13-hour search of the home.
Ultimately, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to look into both Trump and Biden.
Earlier this month Pence described to Fox Business how classified materials were handled when he was vice president.
‘Early in the morning, I received a presidential daily brief at the vice president’s residence,’ he said.
‘I’d rise early. I’d go to the safe where my military aide would place those classified materials. I’d pull them out, review them. I’d receive a presentation (on) them and then, frankly, more often than not…I would simply return them back to the file that I’d received them in. They went in commonly into what was called a burn bag that my military aide would gather and then destroy those classified materials—same goes in materials that I would receive at the White House.’
He went on to add: ‘The handling of classified materials and the nation’s secret is a very serious matter and as a former vice president of the United States, I can speak from personal experience about the attention that ought to be paid to those materials when you’re in office and after you leave office. And clearly that did not take place in this case.’