EXCLUSIVE: Former President Trump defended former Vice President Pence after it was revealed that classified records were discovered in his Indiana home, while also telling Fox News that although he has been “the most transparent” with the investigation into records found at Mar-a-Lago, there are “two sets of justice” compared to Biden’s case.
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.
“Mike Pence is an innocent man,” Trump posted on his Truth Social Tuesday afternoon, which he also referred to in an interview with Fox News Digital. “He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life.”
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE DISCOVERED CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS IN INDIANA HOME
He added: “Leave him alone!!!”
During an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital Tuesday, Trump reflected on the FBI’s unprecedented raid of his Mar-a-Lago home, after months of discussions with the National Archives and Records Administration over documents from his time at the White House.
“I’m the one that has been the most transparent,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “We were having productive talks with NARA and DOJ.”
“And then, they came and raided us,” Trump said, referring to the Aug. 8, 2022 early morning FBI raid of his private residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
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Trump said he and his team were operating under the Presidential Records Act, which governs the official records of presidents and vice presidents that were created or received. The law, which was amended in 2014, changed the legal ownership of the official record of the president from private to public, and established a new structure under which presidents, and subsequently NARA, must manage the records of their administrations.
Trump had turned over 15 boxes to NARA in January 2022 of presidential records. The affidavit supporting the FBI’s warrant for the search stated that the FBI began reviewing those boxes of records in May 2022 and identified classified records in 14 of the 15 boxes.
The FBI and the Justice Department discussed the records in June 2022, and Trump said officials visited the premises.
“When they were down here at Mar-a-Lago, they asked us to put an extra lock on the door and we did,” Trump said, referring to DOJ officials visiting Mar-a-Lago in June 2022.
The affidavit also stated that after DOJ officials visited Mar-a-Lago, it was requested that the storage room housing the records be further secured and that records be preserved.
“I said take whatever you want, take whatever you need,” Trump said, referring to his conversations with officials when they visited Mar-a-Lago.
“My case shouldn’t even be a case,” Trump said. “There was no obstruction—that was the opposite of obstruction.”
“But they raided the house. They did it. That’s just the way they are,” he continued. “There are two sets of justice.”
He added: “The FBI has been so degraded by all of this.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the Mar-a-Lago records in November.
At the time, Pence defended Trump, saying the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his former boss was “very troubling” and “sent a divisive message across the country.”
FBI SAID IT HAD ‘PROBABLE CAUSE’ TO BELIEVE ADDITIONAL CLASSIFIED DOCS REMAINED AT MAR-A-LAGO, AFFIDAVIT SAYS
Pence informed the National Archives on Jan. 18 of a small number of potentially 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.
After the documents with classified markings were discovered, they were immediately put into a safe, according to the Pence team.
The documents were collected by the FBI at Pence’s home in Carmel, Indiana, on Thursday evening, Jan. 19. Pence was in Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life when the FBI collected the documents.
The Pence team said that the decision to search the former vice president’s home and office of his political advocacy group, Advancing American Freedom, came after the initial revelations that Biden held classified records at the Penn Biden Center think tank.
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Classified records were found inside the Washington, D.C., offices of the Penn Biden Center think tank on Nov. 2, 2022, but only disclosed to the public earlier this month.
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A second stash of classified documents was also found inside the garage of the president’s home in Wilmington in December, but revealed to the public earlier this month, prompting Garland to appoint former U.S. Attorney Rob Hur to serve as special counsel.
Days later, additional classified documents were found in the president’s home in Delaware. The FBI also conducted a more than 12-hour search of Biden’s Delaware home on Friday, seizing additional classified records.
Fox News’ Kelly Laco contributed to this report.