What is Pence thinking?
Former Vice President Mike Pence stated on Sunday that he had not been informed about any extensive initiative to declassify documents led by former President Trump. This contradicts a key defense put forth by Trump, who has denied allegations of mishandling and retaining sensitive information post his White House tenure.
In transcript provided by The Hill, during an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Pence clarified, “In my case, I was never made aware of any broad-based effort to declassify documents. There is a process that the White House goes through to declassify materials. But I don’t have any knowledge of any broad-based directive from the president.”
Pence emphasized that his lack of awareness does not necessarily negate the occurrence of such an order; rather, he was not personally made privy to it.
The remarks from the potential GOP presidential candidate come in light of a report by ABC News on Sunday, revealing that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows informed federal investigators examining the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case that he could not recollect any instance of Trump issuing or discussing the declassification of documents.
As per the report, when the National Archives initially requested the documents, Meadows extended assistance to Trump in sifting through the boxes of materials taken from the White House. He offered to identify and return official records. Sources cited by ABC News disclosed that Trump declined the offer.
While Pence expressed that he “would assume” Meadows was aware of such an order, he expressed hopes that the situation does not veer into the territory of leaks originating from the Justice Department.
Trump faced federal charges in June in Florida, stemming from allegations of mishandling classified documents. He pleaded not guilty, consistently asserting that the documents were declassified when he transported them to Mar-a-Lago upon leaving the White House.
Pence reiterated his prior stance that the assessment of Trump’s actions should be left to the American populace.