They called it "the gorilla in the room".
The House Republican report alleges there were "significant intelligence tradecraft failings" in that assessment from the intelligence community, which they argue "undermine confidence" in the conclusions about Putin's objectives in the 2016 election.
According to his own account, which the Senate Judiciary Committee released on Wednesday, along with lots of other materials from its Russian Federation investigation, Rob Goldstone, the fifty-seven-year-old English music publicist who helped arrange the notorious Trump Tower meeting that took place on June 9, 2016, believed it was a mistake from the get-go.
The sitdown was requested by Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who was working to overturn the Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S.to freeze the assets of certain Russian officials. Excerpts from the newly released testimony show that the president's lawyers and associates were anxious about any reports on Trump Jr.'s meeting, which contradicted that claim.
Mr Trump and Mr Putin did not end up meeting because, according to Mr Goldstone, Mr Putin was too busy receiving the new King of Holland.
Committee Democrats said the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting "confirms that the Trump campaign was willing to accept Russia's assistance".
Ultimately, lawyers working for the Trump Organization crafted statements they asked other participants in the meeting to distribute, a move that could draw scrutiny from Mueller if it involved communicating with witnesses or otherwise hiding the true objective of the meeting from investigators.
He has praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, among others.
Shortly after his election, President Trump's spokeswoman had said that no campaign officials had dealings with Russians during the campaign. Torshin is the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russian Federation.
For his own part, Donald Trump Jr told the Senators that he couldn't recall the answers to many of their questions, including inquires about several emails and calls to blocked numbers ahead of the meeting, whether the Russian lawyer offered him documents, whether he had discussed the matter with his father afterwards or if he remembered that an Russian-American lobbyist had also been at the meeting. Former FBI Director James Comey, who was sacked by Trump, was invited but did not appear. They worked out who should sit where, and I sat next to Mr. Kushner.
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Five of the eight meeting participants, including Trump Jr., explained to congressional investigators in the interviews what they thought the meeting was about, how they reacted when the focus of the meeting shifted to sanctions instead and what they did roughly a year later when news of the meeting was finally revealed.
"Donald came here to Russian Federation when he was not even nominated", Mr Putin told Ms Megyn Kelly of NBC News.
Goldstone said he apologized to Trump Jr. for not delivering the "smoking gun" that had been promised. "I learned about it only afterwards, when I was told that as it turned out he had been to Russian Federation". In addition, the Judiciary Committee released brief notes from the meeting that Manafort took on his phone, and written answers to its questions from Veselnitskaya. "Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?"
After about 20 minutes, Trump Jr. cut Veselnitskaya off and ended the meeting by saying they should take up concerns about adoptions up with the Obama administration.
The Washington Post has reported that the president dictated some of the misleading explanations for the meeting - which aides anxious could open him up to charges of a coverup.
"Stay cool", Agalarov instructed Goldstone in a voicemail that was played before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Aras Agalarov, a billionaire real estate developer who joined Trump in staging the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, is on a list of Russian oligarchs close to Putin released by the White House in January.
The gathering was brokered and attended by Rob Goldstone, a colorful music promoter who represented Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, the son of oligarch Aras Agalarov, who asked him to set it up on Veselnitskaya's behalf.
Almost six months later, he was again asked to contact the Trumps and attempt to secure another meeting with Veselnitskaya. "Did you also love that?" the lawyer asked.
"And then he emphasised the word again".