Past presidents, vice presidents asked to check for classified records

Officials with the National Archives have asked former U.S. leaders to check their personal records for any classified documents after classified records were recently found at the homes of President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, according to multiple reports.

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On Thursday, officials sent letters to representatives of former presidents and vice presidents going back to Ronald Reagan asking them to ensure that they are in compliance with the Presidential Records Act, the Associated Press reported. Under the act, presidential and vice-presidential records are public and must be managed by the National Archives and Records Administration.

“The responsibility to comply with the PRA does not diminish after the end of an administration,” the letter read, according to CNN. Officials asked that letter recipients check “to determine whether bodies of materials previously assumed to be personal in nature might inadvertently contain Presidential or Vice Presidential records subject to the PRA, whether classified or unclassified.”

The letters were sent to representatives of former Presidents Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, the AP reported. They were also sent to representatives of former Vice Presidents Pence, Biden, Dick Cheney, Al Gore and Dan Quayle. Former President Jimmy Carter was not contacted as the Presidential Records Act only applies to records created or received after he left office, The Washington Post reported.

Representatives for Clinton, Obama and both Bushes have told CNN that they do not have classified records in their possession.

Last week, an attorney for Pence said in a letter to the National Archives that a “small number of documents bearing classified markings” were found at the former vice president’s home in Indiana, The New York Times reported. The discovery came after classified records were found earlier this year at an office formerly used by Biden and the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. Authorities have also recovered classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed special counsels to investigate how Biden and Trump handled classified information.

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