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Former VP Pence's home searched by FBI

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

The FBI conducted a search today of former Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana home. This comes nearly a month after a search by Pence's own lawyer found a small number of classified documents at the house. President Biden and former President Trump are also facing scrutiny for their handling of classified documents after leaving office. NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas joins us now with the latest. So, Ryan, what more can you tell us about the search of Pence's home?

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Well, this was a consensual search of Pence's home near Carmel, Ind. Pence's team and the Justice Department had worked out the timing of all this ahead of time. A Pence adviser says the FBI had unrestricted access to the home and that the search lasted about five hours in all. Agents were looking for classified documents, as well as materials that aren't classified but are subject to the Presidential Records Act. The adviser says agents took one document with classified markings and six additional pages without classification markings from the home today. Now, neither Pence nor his wife were at the house. They are both out of town, visiting family on the West Coast. They're welcoming a couple of new grandchildren. But a lawyer for Pence was present at the home as agents searched the place.

SUMMERS: And this is all after Pence held his own search of his house last month, which did turn up classified documents, right?

LUCAS: That's right. There was that series of big discoveries, of course, of classified documents involving both former President Trump and President Biden. After those happened, Pence decided it would be wise to do a search of his own home. So he had one of his attorneys come do it. That search turned up four boxes that were taped shut. The attorney opened them and found that there were classified documents in them. We don't have details on what exactly those classified documents were, but Pence's representatives say that it was a small number. Now, Pence secured those documents in a safe and then alerted the National Archives and the Justice Department, and eventually the FBI came out to collect those. The search today is basically a product of that discovery. This is the FBI doing its due diligence in checking the property itself.

SUMMERS: OK. So is this the end of it for Pence, or will there perhaps be more searches?

LUCAS: So Pence has an office here in D.C. I'm told that his legal team is in talks with the Justice Department to arrange a search of that office at some point in the near future. Pence has pledged his full cooperation in this investigation, as, of course, has President Biden in the investigation into the classified documents that were found at his think tank office here in D.C. And that, of course, is critical. That's a critical difference between President Biden, former Vice President Pence and the case involving Trump, of course, who did not cooperate with a subpoena to return classified documents from Mar-a-Lago. And that's, of course, what ultimately led the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago back in August.

SUMMERS: And separately, there is another legal news story involving Mike Pence today. He's also been subpoenaed by the Justice Department. What can you tell us about that?

LUCAS: That's right. Pence received a subpoena from special counsel Jack Smith. He's the man who's overseeing two Justice Department investigations that involve former President Trump - the January 6 attack - one involving the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and efforts to interfere with the presidential transfer of power in 2020 as well as the investigation involving classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. Now, we don't have a lot of details on this subpoena, but Smith clearly has questions for the former vice president and wants to hear from him. We know that folks who served as lawyers in the Trump White House have testified before the grand jury here in Washington, D.C. in recent months. But Pence, of course, is in another category.

SUMMERS: Yeah.

LUCAS: He's the highest official yet from Trump's inner circle that we know to have been subpoenaed in this investigation. He's someone who, of course, was meeting one-on-one with the former president. So this is certainly a step forward for special counsel Smith's probe.

SUMMERS: NPR's Ryan Lucas, thank you.

LUCAS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.