Former Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday he was unaware of a “broad-based effort” by Donald Trump to declassify documents before leaving the White House.
“The White House has a process for declassifying materials. I know it’s happened on several occasions during our four-year tenure. But I’m not aware of any broad-based directive from the president,” Pence told ABC News on Sunday.
“But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I just – it’s not something I’ve heard of,” he added.
Trump was indicted in June on seven charges as part of a Justice Department investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents brought to his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort after leaving the White House in 2021 — as well as potential obstruction of justice and government efforts to recover the materials.
Classified records should be stored in secure locations. Under the Presidential Records Act, White House records must go to the National Archives when an administration ends.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Since announcing his White House bid earlier this year, Pence has condemned Trump for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, but he has been careful to extend his criticism beyond that.
Pence has not ruled out pardoning the former president, telling CNN late last month that while Trump’s actions were reckless on Jan. 6, he still did not believe they were criminal.
Asked what his strategy would be on the debate stage Wednesday, Pence said Sunday: “I’m going to be me.”
“I feel like I’ve been preparing for this first Republican presidential debate my whole life.”