At the home of former US Vice President Mike Pence, secret papers were found. This is the latest case of secret papers being found at the homes of former top government officials.
The documents were found by Mr. Pence’s lawyer at his home in Indiana last week. They have been given to the FBI.
Investigators are already looking into how files got into the hands of President Joe Biden and ex-President Donald Trump.
For allegedly mishandling papers, Mr. Trump is being looked into by the police.
Representatives for Mr. Mike Pence told the National Archives about the documents in a letter.
Lawyers added in a separate letter that the FBI went around “standard procedures” and asked to take “direct possession” of the documents by going to the home of the former vice-president.
Under the Presidential Records Act, records from the White House should be sent to the National Archives when an administration is over. Regulations say that these files must be kept in a safe place.
At the end of Mr. Trump’s presidency, a “small number of documents with classified markings” were “inadvertently boxed and moved” to Mr. Pence’s home, his lawyer wrote in a letter that was shared with US media.
The latest change happened after Mr. Mike Pence “out of an abundance of caution” asked lawyers who know how to handle classified documents for help.
In the letter, it said that he asked for help “after it became public that classified documents were found in President Joe Biden’s Wilmington home.”
Lawyers found “a small number of documents that might contain sensitive or classified information” that the former vice president had locked up in a safe.
An aide to Mr. Mike Pence told CBS News, which is a partner of the BBC in the US, that the documents were kept in boxes in an area of Mr. Pence’s home that was not secure. The helper said that they had been taped shut.
The documents are thought to have been taken to Mr. Pence’s home in Virginia before being sent to Indiana, according to US media.
After the letter was made public, Mr. Trump defended Mr. Pence by saying that he is “an innocent man” on his social media platform, Truth Social.
“He never did anything in his life that he knew was dishonest,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Don’t bother him!!!”
Over the last few months, Mr. Mike Pence had said over and over that he didn’t think he had any classified documents.
Earlier this month, he told CBS that he was sure the reviews of documents in his home had been done “carefully and thoroughly.”
Mr. Biden had said before that he didn’t regret not going public with the news that classified documents had been found in his office before the midterm elections.
During a 13-hour search of President Biden’s home in Delaware on Friday, six more classified files were found, his lawyer Bob Bauer said in a statement on Saturday.
So far, the documents that have been found are thought to be related to Joe Biden’s eight years as vice president under Barack Obama.
Mr. Biden offered to let the Department of Justice search his home for vice-presidential records and possibly classified information, said Mr. Bauer.
In the beginning of this month, Mr. Biden’s lawyers said that on November 2, a first batch of classified documents had been found at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank in Washington, DC, that the president had started.
His lawyers said that on December 20, a second set of records was found in the garage of his Wilmington home, and on January 12, another document was found in a storage space at the house.
Representatives for former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush told Reuters on Tuesday that their administrations had given all documents to the National Archives after they left office.
The things that were found at the homes of Mr. Mike Pence and Mr. Biden come as Mr. Trump is being investigated by a special counsel over claims that he mishandled documents.
Hundreds of classified records were found at Mr. Trump’s Florida vacation home, Mar-a-Lago. Mr. Trump and his lawyers refused to give the documents to the FBI until August of last year, when the FBI raided the Florida home.
He denied doing anything wrong and said that President Biden was getting more help from the FBI.