Washington is reeling after another batch of classified documents was discovered in the home of another high-profile politician — this time, former Vice President Mike Pence.
Pence’s lawyer characterized the documents as “a small number of documents bearing classified markings that were inadvertently transported to the personal home of the former vice president at the end of the last administration.” He said they were found Jan. 16 and placed in a secure safe until they could be returned to proper authorities.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden got a rare show of support from an unlikely source: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who told reporters on Capitol Hill that he’d be “shocked if there’s anything sinister” in Biden’s mishandling of classified documents.
Here’s what else is happening in politics:
- Harris in California: President Joe Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to visit California Wednesday in the wake of two deadly mass shootings in her home state that killed 18 people.
- McCarthy blocks Democrats from Intelligence panel: GOP Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he would not seat fellow California Reps. Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff to the House Intelligence Committee, keeping a promise he made on the campaign trail.
- Ticketmaster grilled by lawmakers: Joe Berchtold, president and CFO of Live nation took the stage this time around to face intense questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee about a lack of competition within the ticketing industry.
- Germany has approved plans to send coveted Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, as the White House is expected to announce its own plans to send tanks. President Joe Biden is scheduled to make a noon announcement on the issue at the White House.
Intelligence interception:McCarthy plans to block Democrats Swalwell, Schiff from House Intelligence Committee
Cost of Leopard 2 tanks
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Wednesday that his country would provide 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks for Ukraine’s military, in a move that follows months of diplomatic pressure from Kyiv. It comes ahead of an expected announcement from the White House about sending M1 Abrams tanks to battlefields in Ukraine.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to discuss Ukraine at a noon White House event today.
Modern, capable tanks are seen as critical to Ukraine’s ability to resist an expected springtime offensive by Russian forces and to help the Ukrainians claw back parts of their country seized during the invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainians operate Russian and Soviet-era tanks. Western tanks would provide them with vehicles that have more firepower, mobility and armor.
— Holly Rosenkrantz
- When were the documents discovered? The classified files were found Jan. 16 and placed in a secure safe until they could be returned to proper authorities, according to Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob.
- How many files were found? Pence’s lawyer characterized the documents as “a small number of documents bearing classified markings that were inadvertently transported to the personal home of the former vice president at the end of the last administration.”
- What Pence has said: Pence repeatedly denied knowledge of classified documents at his home last year. When asked explicitly by the Associated Press in August if he had such documents in his possession, he responded, “No, not to my knowledge.”
- What security analysts say: The country’s classified document woes are far from over yet. Security analysts told USA TODAY that the U.S. system of safeguarding classified presidential documents — especially during transfers of power — is in urgent need of improvement.
Vice President Kamala Harris will visit California in the aftermath of two mass shootings in her home state that killed 18 people and renewed the president’s push for gun control.
“Our hearts are with the people of California,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday. “The vice president’s going to be going out.”
Seven people died Tuesday in two shootings near the Northern California community of Half Moon Bay, just days after a rampage in Southern California killed 11. Harris is scheduled to visit Monterey Park, site of one of the shootings.
– Joey Garrison
Biden schedule today
President Joe Biden will make a noon announcement at the White House about Ukraine.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean -Pierre will hold a press briefing at 1:30 p.m.
Vice President Kamala Harris will address the Democratic caucus at the Capitol this morning. She departs Washington at 1:45 p.m. for California.
Harris will visit Monterey Park at 8:20 p.m. She will meet with families of the mass shooting victims there.
— Holly Rosenkrantz
Taylor Swift ticket debacle took center stage in the Senate
The Senate Judiciary Committee knew “All Too Well” how poorly Ticketmaster handled selling tickets to Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated tour as senators examined the lack of competition within the ticketing industry and grilled a Ticketmaster executive on the handling of the tickets.
The committee pulled no punches as they held the company accountable and questioned its practices, power over the ticketing market and whether the company, which merged with Live National Entertainment in 2010, was a monopoly.
There was no shortage of Swift references as senators – and a witness – engaged in true fan behavior, dropping lyrics throughout the three-hour hearing, including Connecticut Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who suggested to Joe Berchtold, the president and CFO of Live Nation, that the company “look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m the problem. It’s me.’”
– Sarah Elbeshbishi
Sour note:‘Industrial-scale ticket scalping.’ Senators grill Ticketmaster over Taylor Swift concert fiasco