Special counsel prosecutors think Trump deliberately misled his lawyers over missing papers, report says

Donald Trump knowingly misled his own attorneys about his handling of classified documents after leaving office, according to the contents of a sealed filing in the special counsel investigation of the former president, ABC News reports.

The federal special counsel investigating Mr Trump presented a Washington court with evidence that the former president committed “criminal violations” and deliberately misled his lawyers, former DC district court chief judge Beryl Howell wrote in a Friday filing, a source told the broadcaster. (Judge Howell stepped down the same day as the reported filing.)

As a result of the alleged misconduct on Mr Trump’s part, Judge Howell ordered Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to comply with a grand jury subpoena and offer records and testimony in the investigation, which he had previously avoided by claiming attorney-client privilege.

Attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply to conversations relating to carrying out or concealing a crime.

The Independent has contacted Mr Trump and Mr Corcoran for comment.

The Trump campaign said in a statement on Tuesday that the special counsel’s office has “no case whatsoever.”

“The real story here, that Fake News ABC SHOULD be reporting on, is that prosecutors only attack lawyers when they have no case whatsoever,” the campaign said. “President Trump is the only leader fighting for the Constitution in order to protect the American people from being abused by a crooked system.”

Mr Trump’s legal team has gone to a federal appeals court to challenge the order compelling Mr Corcoran’s testimony, CNN reports.

The potential new testimony could include previously unknown details about Mr Trump’s handling of the trove of national security records found at his Mar-a-Lago estate and resort in Florida.

The extra pressure in the special counsel investigation comes as Mr Trump may be facing imminent criminal charges in New York for his role in paying off two women during the 2016 campaign season who claimed to have had affairs with the then-presidential candidate.

The charges, which would mark the first time a US president has been charged with criminal conduct, could arrive as soon as Wednesday.

Mr Trump has been calling on his supporters to protest his potential arrest and “take our nation back.”

Security officials say that in the run-up to Mr Trump’s rumoured arrest, online warnings of violence and aggressive threats have surged.

On Tuesday, a bomb threat briefly shut down operations in a neighbouring Manhattan courthouse close to where the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigation of Mr Trump’s 2016 hush money payments to women claiming affairs has been underway.

Mr Trump is facing potential charges across a variety of probes in Washington, New York, and Georgia.