"I don't know him", Trump said.
Hours after George Papadopoulos (an ex policy advisor to Trump) was sentenced to two weeks in jail for lying to FBI investigators, a court heard that the Maltese professor he met with to connect him with Russian officials may be dead.
Alex Van der Zwaan, a lawyer who once worked closely with Manafort and Gates, pleaded guilty in February to lying to Mueller's investigators about contacts with an official in the Trump election campaign.
Within weeks, he made contact with a mysterious professor, Joseph Mifsud, who touted links to the Kremlin and introduced him to others who ostensibly had connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin - including a woman who claimed to be Putin's niece.
Defense counsel in their filings painted Papadopoulos as a naive and eager campaign aid who sought to impress the Trump campaign by setting up a meeting with campaign officials and Russian Federation to discuss whatever Russian Federation allegedly had on Ms. Clinton.
Judge Randolph D Moss said the sentence could have been higher but he sensed "genuine remorse" from Papadopolous. He hasn't returned since.
"I made a awful mistake, but I am a good man who is eager for redemption", Papadopoulos said.
Papadopoulos told the judge that his entire life has been turned upside down due to this case, and that it has caused him to become "terribly depressed".
Also in court, his lawyer, Thomas Breen, criticized Mr. Trump for calling the Russian Federation probe fake news and a witch hunt. With his constant cries of "fake news", Trump has "hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever did", Breen said.
Twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 13, accused of hacking Democratic Party computer networks in 2016, in the most detailed USA accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the presidential election to help Trump. The lies did not impede the investigation, he argued.
The White House distanced itself from Papadopoulos, referring to his campaign role as nothing more than a low-level coffee boy, after his guilty plea.
Papadopoulos lied to investigators because he was "caught off-guard by an impromptu investigation" and wanted to "save his professional aspirations", his lawyers said. Papadopoulos was also given 200 hours of community service and a $9,500 fine.
American authorities were alerted in mid-2016 after Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat during a drinking session in a London pub about his meetings with Professor Mifsud.
Breen said his client's primary interest was brokering a meeting between Trump and Putin, a move he believed the campaign supported.
In this photo from June 21, 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington.
CNN's Tapper noted that Session's attorneys said that Sessions stands by his testimony, and denied encouraging a meeting with Russians.