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CNN reporter suggests 'amnesty' over classified documents scandal: 'A hellacious PR nightmare'

Win McNamee/Getty Images

A CNN reporter suggested this week that government leaders should be given "amnesty" for improperly retaining classified documents.

Reacting to the discovery of classified documents at the private home of former Vice President Mike Pence, CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel explained how the development is a "gift" to both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

"So I actually think this may be a gift in different ways to both President Biden and former President Trump. For President Biden, this has been a hellacious PR nightmare that just — drip, drip, drip," she said. "For former President Trump, I think this may help him on the legal front because even though his situation is completely different — intent, obstruction, the number of documents that were taken — it does show sort of a widespread issue with these documents."

Indeed, Gangel noted that Pence thought he didn't have any classified documents — but he did. That is evidence "there's a problem with the system," Gangel added.

Gangel thus predicted that the goverment may extend "some sort of amnesty" to former leaders regarding classified documents.

"I think we will see in the coming days the [National] Archives reach out to all the former presidents, all the former vice presidents, and ask them to go back and check," she said.

"Maybe there's going to have to be some kind of amnesty here," she added. "I'm not even saying it lightly. But if the system isn't working, there may be a need to say, 'Guys, we're going to fix the system but please go back and see what you have there.'"

Gangel touched on the same issue that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) highlighted over the weekend.

Kaine, like other officials in the government, believes there is a problem with the classification system, namely that too many documents are classified.

"This government has a tendency to over-classify," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation.

"If they are looking at a document and they have to analyze to decide whether to classify, sometimes they just mark it classified. I'll read it in the SCIF and say, '[CBS News anchor Margaret Brennan] was reporting on that a month ago, or the Washington Post has been telling me this for the last six months,'" Kaine explained.

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