WH classified documents are exposed to many people and can be 'mishandled,' Bush's chief of staff says

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Classified documents turning out to be a ‘symptomatic problem’: Andy Card

President George W. Bush’s former Chief of Staff Andy Card says a leaving president never ‘cleans up his own mess’ and that staffers likely misplaced material once handled by Trump, Biden and Pence.

Trump, Biden, and now Pence, too?

On Tuesday, former Vice President Mike Pence informed Congress that he discovered documents bearing classified markings in his Carmel, Indiana, home on Jan. 16 from his time as vice president. The revelation comes months after the Mar-a-Lago raid and just days after multiple material discoveries at President Biden’s personal residences.

According to George W. Bush’s former chief of staff, it wasn’t "unusual" for him or White House staffers to deliver and handle classified documents, possibly providing an explanation as to how this material makes its way outside the Oval Office.

"It wasn't as if every document is only viewed in the skiff," Andy Card said on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" Tuesday. "When you leave the White House, the principal almost never cleans up his own mess or packs his own boxes. It's a lot of people helping. And I would suspect that's what the situation was with President Trump. I suspect that's what it was with Vice President Biden, and I suspect it was that way with Vice President Pence."

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According to his team, 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.

When leaving the White House, “the principal almost never cleans up his own mess or packs his own boxes,” George W. Bush’s former chief of staff Andy Card said on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” Tuesday. (Fox News)

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.

While the classified document discoveries have gotten "out of control," according to Card, he admitted it’s still "wrong" to take and unsafely store sensitive and high-security material.

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"It's turning out to be a symptomatic problem in all of government. And I suspect that there are members of Congress who have come across violations, even in their world," Card said. "But I hope it doesn't distract the leaders in Washington, D.C., from doing the people's business and really defending the integrity of the United States."

Card argued not "enough concern" has been put on who is truly responsible for physically packing up these White House records, reiterating that "it’s not reasonable" to expect a president, vice president or chief of staff to file their paperwork on the way out.

"Yes, ultimately, the president or the vice president or the chief of staff would be responsible. But I think that we probably haven't done a good job of making sure the people who are actually doing the task of packing boxes up is sensitive to what can go, what can't go and which should go in a special spot," Card said.

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Handling classified material is "a very big burden to carry, I can tell you," Bush’s chief of staff added.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Fox News’ Peter Doocy reports that George W. Bush’s office in Dallas has not found any classified materials lying around.

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Fox News’ Kelly Laco contributed to this report.

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