Pence Says He Was Unaware of Any ‘Broad-Based Effort’ by Trump to Declassify Documents

Former Vice President Mike Pence stated Sunday that he was not aware of any broad efforts by former President Donald Trump to declassify documents.
Pence Says He Was Unaware of Any ‘Broad-Based Effort’ by Trump to Declassify Documents
Then-President Donald Trump looks on after a news conference with then-Vice President Mike Pence in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on Feb. 26, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips
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Former Vice President Mike Pence stated Sunday that he was not aware of any broad efforts by former President Donald Trump to declassify documents, as he was responding to questions about the federal government’s case against the former commander-in-chief.

“There is a process that the White House goes through to declassify materials. I’m aware of that occurring on several cases over the course of our four years,” Mr. Pence said during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday.

Mr. Pence added that he does not currently “have any knowledge of any broad-based directive from the president. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t occur, I just—it’s just not something that I ever heard about.”

In June, President Trump was indicted for allegedly mishandling dozens of classified documents that were found during an unprecedented FBI raid targeting his Mar-a-Lago resort last August. He’s pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The former president is also facing three other criminal indictments, including most recently in Georgia’s Fulton County, over an alleged role to overturn the 2020 election results.

Mr. Pence’s remarks came after ABC’s Jonathan Karl had asked him about a report that alleged former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told special counsel Jack Smith that he couldn’t recall President Trump having declassified sets of documents toward the end of his presidency. On social media and in interviews, the former president has said he declassified those documents.

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during Fair Side Chat at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 11, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during Fair Side Chat at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 11, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Meadows, meanwhile, has not publicly commented on those reports. A Trump campaign spokesperson told news outlets over the weekend that the Department of Justice is “selectively leaking incomplete information because they know they can’t win inside a courtroom” to the media in a bid to sway public opinion.

Since he announced his 2016 president bid earlier this year, Mr. Pence has failed to garner much traction as he rebuked the former president for the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. He has been careful not to criticize President Trump any more than that.

In an interview with media outlets last month, Mr. Pence said he wouldn’t rule out pardoning the former president if he is elected.

“I’ve been a governor, I’ve actually pardoned people,” said Mr. Pence, reported the Des Moines Register. “And I think any pardon that you could conduct would only be appropriate to consider after somebody has been found guilty. And I don’t know why some of my competitors in the Republican primary assume the president’s going to be found guilty.”

Also during the ABC News interview, the former vice president confirmed that he will be attending the first GOP debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“I’m just going to be me,” he said, adding, “I feel like I’ve been preparing for this first Republican presidential debate my whole life.”

As for President Trump, he hinted in a Truth Social post last week that he will not attend the debate. It came after he rebuked the Republican National Committee (RNC) for forcing candidates to sign a loyalty pledge to the ultimate Republican primary winner, saying there are candidates that he wouldn’t support if they won.

Instead, reports indicated the former president will release a video of an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The first debate is slated to be held on Fox News.

But in the ABC News interview, Mr. Pence suggested that his former boss may, in fact, attend the debate. “I served alongside the president for a long time. And one thing I realized about him, it’s not over till it’s over,” he said.

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5
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