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Pence: I did not take classified material with me when I left office

It comes after FBI agents seized top secret information from former president Donald Trump’s Florida estate.

Mike Pence speaks to reporters during a visit to the Iowa State Fair yesterday
Mike Pence speaks to reporters during a visit to the Iowa State Fair yesterday
Image: Charlie Neibergall/PA

FORMER US VICE president Mike Pence has said he did not take any classified information with him when he left office.

The disclosure would typically be unremarkable but is notable given that FBI agents seized classified and top secret information from former president Donald Trump’s Florida estate earlier this month while investigating potential violations of three different federal laws.

Mr Trump has claimed the documents seized by agents were “all declassified”.

Asked directly if he had retained any classified information upon leaving office, Mr Pence said: “No, not to my knowledge.”

Despite the inclusion of material marked “top secret” in the government’s list of items recovered from Mar-a-Lago, Mr Pence said: “I honestly don’t want to prejudge it before we know all the facts.”

Mr Pence also raised the possibility, as he has previously, that the investigation was politically motivated and called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to disclose more details on what led authorities to conduct the search.

“The concern that millions of Americans felt is only going to be resolved with daylight,” Mr Pence said. “I know that’s not customary in an investigation. But this is unprecedented action by the Justice Department, and I think it merits an unprecedented transparency.”

Mr Pence was in Iowa on Friday as part of a two day-trip to the state, which hosts the lead-off Republican presidential caucuses.

The former vice-president also made stops in other early voting states as he takes steps towards mounting a 2024 White House campaign.

He said he will make a decision early next year about whether to run for the White House, a move that his aides have said will be independent of what Mr Trump decides to do.

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