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Mike Pence speaking at an event in South Carolina

Source: (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON--Former Vice President and Indiana Governor Mike Pence says he “can’t defend” former President Trump against the accusations that he mishandled classified documents.

In an interview with CNBC Wednesday, Pence called the charges against Trump “very serious,” but also acknowledged that politics may have played a role in the decision by the federal government to indict Trump on 37 felony counts. He pled not guilty.

“None of that changes the fact, though, that the handling of classified documents is a very serious matter. The former President does have a right, however, to his day in court,” said Pence.

Investigators have said the information on the documents found at Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago included U.S. nuclear programs and defense and weapons capabilities.

“The very prospect that what is alleged here took place, creating an opportunity where highly sensitive classified material could have fallen into the wrong hands, even inadvertently, jeopardizes our national security. It could really harm our armed forces,” said Pence.

But as it pertains to how the Department of Justice conducts these kinds of investigations, Pence did acknowledge that changes need to be made.

“If I have the privilege to be president of the United States, we’re going to clean house at the Department of Justice. We’re going to find men and women who are universally respected by both political parties, and we’re going to restore public confidence and equal treatment under the law,” said Pence.

Pence has entered the 2024 Republican Primary race for President and every poll shows Trump having a significant lead.