I was glad to see Judge Raymond Dearie — the special master assigned to the Trump stolen documents case — has thus far not been taken in by the orange one’s claims that, while still in office, he had declassified all the paperwork found by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago.

The judge effectively told him, “Prove it.” See, it’s one thing to mouth off in the media or at a rally, but it’s another thing to provide evidence supporting your claims in court. Dearie has effectively told Trump’s legal team to put up or shut up.

This is a concept Trump is not familiar with because for his entire life, there’s been virtually no backlash whenever he’s made some outrageous declaration. Since he first announced his presidential candidacy in 2015, reporters have only rarely followed up because they feared he’d turn on them. So, he’d spout a sentence starting with, “People are saying…” and no one would ever ask him, “Who is saying that? Give us some names!” When he tweeted that he was going to sue this person or that entity over some supposed grievance, we rarely were told whether Trump’s attorneys did in fact file such a lawsuit — and if so, did anything more than get a court clerk’s stamp.

Trump wannabes, election deniers, and right-wing media liars continue to follow his lead, spreading falsehoods and disinformation on a daily (if not hourly) basis. Take, for example, the myriad articles yesterday that repeated the unproven claim (on Fox News, of course) by Ronna McDaniel, head of the Republican National Committee, that parents should be afraid of candy-colored fentanyl dropped in their children’s Halloween baskets. Like the razor-blades-in-apples scare of a previous generation, there hasn’t been a single documented case in the real world, but that doesn’t matter when you’re in the fear-mongering business.

Trump’s bullshit works well with the marble-brained cult members at his rallies, but journalists are supposed to view wild assertions with skepticism, not merely report what’s been said without demanding verification. But neither Trump nor any of his lawyers has ever stood in front of a federal judge, sworn to tell the truth under penalty of perjury, and then successfully substantiated whatever ridiculous claims they have spewed outside the legal system.

Why? Because they know it is all a lie — just like Trump’s declassification pronouncements.