The Special Master attending the Trump v USA classified documents clearing wants to know why Trump thinks the documents aren't classified. Either Trump magically declassified them, which may be a crime in and of itself, or he stole a bunch of classified documents. The Special Master needs to know which documents Trump claims he declassified and how if he is to have a reason to believe marked documents that the USG claims are classified are not. Trump's team doesn't want to explain how or why Trump had these documents or how he declassified them. Either he claims to have potentially illegally and improperly declassified information, or he stole the documents. Which is it?
Apparently, the Trump legal team has painted themselves into a corner and now needs to admit to the possibility of one crime or the other. Trump has been very vocal about declassifying the documents but his legal team refuses to put it in writing.
"The government gives me prima facie evidence that these are classified documents," Dearie said, referring to the plain markings on the records. "As far as I'm concerned, that's the end of it."
Dearie gave Trump's lawyer James Trusty ample opportunity to explain why his consideration shouldn't end there.
On the eve of the hearing, Trump's lawyers had filed a four-page letter urging Dearie to back off from his demand that they disclose declassification arguments.
"We respectfully submit that the time and place for affidavits or declarations would be in connection with a Rule 41 motion that specifically alleges declassification as a component of its argument for return of property," Trusty wrote in the filing. "Otherwise, the Special Master process will have forced the Plaintiff to fully and specifically disclose a defense to the merits of any subsequent indictment without such a requirement being evident in the District Court's order."
Dearie said he agreed that Trump's lawyers have the right to assert that position, but he suggested that they would have to live with the consequences of that course of action.
"You can't have your cake and eat it," the judge said.