WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Mike Pence said he was not “aware” of any effort by former President Donald Trump to declassify sensitive documents during his presidency, as Trump continues to deny wrongdoing in his criminal case over his alleged mishandling of classified documents.
“I was never made aware of any broad-based effort to declassify documents. There is a process that the White House goes through to declassify materials, I’m aware of that occurring on several occasions over the course of our four years,” Pence said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But I don’t have any knowledge of any broad-based directive from the president. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t occur, it’s just not something I ever heard about.”
Trump has repeatedly asserted he declassified the documents he held in his Mar-a-Lago estate, claiming last year he had the power to declassify documents just by “thinking about it.”
Trump’s legal team has been careful to not make those same assertions in legal filings. Trump’s attorneys so far have pushed to delay a trial or have the case dismissed outright.
Pence, a 2024 candidate in the GOP primary race, has rebuked his former boss before over the classified documents case, calling the charges “very serious” and indefensible.
“The handling of classified material is enormously serious in the life of the nation,” Pence said, alluding to the national security risks Trump’s handling of the classified documents posed to the country.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mike Pence not ‘aware’ Donald Trump tried to declassify documents