Et tu, Mike Pence?

Mike Pence struck me as an exemplary vice president during the Trump administration, the quiet ballast to Trump’s sometimes erratic and explosive energy. (I’ve been less than enthused about him since the 2020 election.) The one thing that really made him stand out, though, was that he was no Joe Biden: smart where Biden was a moron, a model of rectitude where Biden was a minor-attracted, corrupt man. And yet, it turns out that Pence and Biden have something in common: They both took home documents marked “classified.”

Fox News reported on the breaking story:

Vice President Mike Pence informed Congress Tuesday that he discovered documents bearing classified markings in his Carmel, Indiana, home on Jan. 16 from his time as vice president. 

Following the revelations that classified documents from President Biden's tenure as vice president were found at the Penn Biden Center think tank and Wilmington, Delaware, the vice president's team conducted searches of Pence's Indiana home and political advocacy group, Advancing American Freedom, office.

According to his team, Pence informed the National Archives on Jan. 18 of a small number of potential classified documents found in two small boxes. Another two boxes contained copies of vice presidential papers. The National Archives then informed the FBI per standard procedure.

Image: Mike Pence. YouTube screen grab.

I have a few thoughts on the matter, in no particular order.

1. It’s unlikely that Pence has given or sold any information, including information in classified documents, to foreign nations. Certainly, it’s possible but, as I said, it’s unlikely. He’s never shown an orientation toward foreign nations, unlike Biden, who put himself forward as a foreign policy maven.

2. Pence, like Biden, and unlike Trump, has no right to possess classified documents that have not been officially declassified. (By the way, the declassification procedure serves as proof that a person has the right to possess the documents.) By contrast, if the president behaves as if the documents are declassified, then they’re declassified. No other proof is required.

3. If the DOJ wants to indict Pence, then it must indict Biden, too, given that the two men are similarly situated. Pence’s admission increases the likelihood that both men get a pass that would not be offered to other, less highly placed people illegally possessing classified documents.

4. The reality is that there are people in D.C. who come into possession of classified material without the necessity of viewing that information in sensitive compartmented information facilities (scif). Indeed, it’s reasonable to believe that the offices of highly placed government officials and politicians are treated as scifs. Without the formality of a scif (a room from which documents leave only when stuffed into pants and socks), one can imagine that those viewing the documents approach them a little carelessly, with the carelessness increasing as one climbs the ladder of power.

That is, the clerk at the Pentagon will be paranoid because she knows she’ll be sent to jail forever, whereas the vice president or senator really doesn’t worry about an eternity in Club Fed—and without that fear, these same people might be cavalier about handling classified documents. The real problem with Joe’s squirreling away classified documents (something he’s done for at least a decade) is the fact that the Biden family has long profited off of Joe’s connections with foreign governments, something the Hunter laptop repeatedly exposes. Now that we know Joe had classified documents in his possession, that creates a reasonable concern that Joe’s quid pro quo wasn’t just access, but also information.

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