Aug 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Pence says he wasn't "made aware" of Trump's efforts to declassify documents

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday he was not made aware of any efforts by former President Donald Trump to declassify documents.

Why it matters: Pence's statement is at odds with Trump's insistence he did nothing wrong by keeping the materials at Mar-a-Lago.

  • Pence's comment came hours after ABC News reported that Mark Meadows, Trump's former chief of staff, allegedly told investigators from special counsel Jack Smith's office that he couldn't recall Trump declassifying large groups of materials or a standing order allowing the then-president to do so. Axios has not yet verified ABC News' reporting on Meadows.

What they're saying: "Well first off, the handling of classified materials is enormously serious in the life of the nation ... but in my case, I was never made aware of any broad-based effort to declassify documents," Pence told ABC News' Jon Karl during an interview on "This Week".

  • "There is a process that the White House goes through to declassify materials. I'm aware of that occurring on several occasions over the course of our four years, but I don't have any knowledge of any broad-based directive from the president," Pence said.
  • "That doesn't mean it didn't occur. It's just not something that I never heard about," he added.
  • When asked whether Meadows, as Trump's chief of staff, would've known about declassification efforts, Pence said, "I would expect so," but did not go into further detail.

Zoom out: Trump faces 40 charges in the classified documents case, as of July, after investigators found classified materials in his Mar-a-Lago estate.

  • He is also facing three additional criminal indictments, including most recently in Georgia, for his alleged role to overturn the 2020 election results.
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