The United States Department of Justice criticized Donald Trump's legal arguments in a 12-page motion filed on Tuesday that mentions potential damage to national security in the first paragraph.
Prosecutors are seeking a stay on Judge Aileen Cannon's ruling for a special master to allow the FBI to work with the rest of the intelligence community to investigate "just over 100 records marked as classified."
The motion indicated the markings signify disclosures that "reasonably could be expected to result in damage to national security.
In a footnote on the first page, prosecutors sought to debunk one of Trump's defenses.
DOJ wrote Trump "has characterized the government's criminal investigation as a 'document storage dispute' or an 'overdue library book scenario.' In doing so, [Trump] has not addressed the potential harms that could result from mishandling classified information or the strict requirements imposed by law for handling such materials," DOJ argued.
The filing also said Trump "offers no response to the government's multiple arguments demonstrating that he cannot plausibly assert executive privilege to prevent the Executive Branch itself from reviewing records that Executive Branch officials previously marked as classified."
The filing also noted Trump "does not actually assert — much less provide any evidence — that any of the seized records bearing classification markings have been declassified."
Former Pentagon special counsel Ryan Goodman said the brief "decimates Trump lawyers' brief" and said it "should be game over."
"Brilliant moves here by DOJ," he explained. "First, they call Trump's bluff here — that he has never asserted in court that he declassified/made records personal. Second, if he did declassify any, it would be hugely important for IC/FBI/DOJ to have those records to assess the impact."
Goodman continued, "Next pointed and irrefutable argument by DOJ: If Trump wants to claim he made these records "personal," then his claim of executive privilege evaporates. Personal records = no executive privilege Trump's lawyers' and advisors (eg Tom Fitton) have dug themselves a hole here."