Donald Trump Jr., left, is interviewed by host Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel in New York on July 11, 2017. (Richard Drew/AP)

It took about a year for Trump Organization attorneys to learn that Donald Trump Jr. had invited a Kremlin-linked attorney into their building for a meeting during the 2016 campaign.

The meeting happened in early June of that year, after Trump Jr. received an email promising that the Russian government had negative information about Hillary Clinton that it wanted to provide to then-candidate Donald Trump’s team. Trump Jr. replied “love it” and arranged to have his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign Chairman Paul Manafort attend, as well. The information wasn’t what the Trump team had hoped and the incident faded.

According to the redacted report compiled by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team, it was the first week of June 2017 when the Trump Organization learned that this had happened. By then, the meeting had enormous significance, given that Mueller had just been appointed to look into precisely the sort of thing that Trump Jr. had embraced with such alacrity: Russia offering to help elect his father.

Word of the meeting slowly trickled into Trump world. On June 22, 2017, Hope Hicks, then working as a communications staffer in the White House, and Trump, Kushner and Ivanka Trump attended a meeting in which Kushner tried to raise the issue of the meeting and the incriminating emails that launched it. Trump said he didn’t want to hear about it.

At the time, Trump’s chief of staff was Reince Priebus. He wasn’t part of that meeting and appears to have learned about it only at some point later in the month.

Priebus didn’t hear about it from Kushner, according to what he told Mueller’s team. He heard about it from Fox News host Sean Hannity.

Hannity’s name comes up several times in the Mueller report. At one point, he’s identified as one of several high-profile individuals who shared information on social media that was part of the Russian effort to sow dissension during the election. This mention about Priebus, though, is more telling.

The Trump Tower meeting was massive news when the New York Times first broke the story in mid-July 2017. For days, it was at the center of the national political conversation, particularly once those emails did come to light showing what Trump Jr. was offered and how he responded. The Times coverage was mentioned when the newspaper shared a Pulitzer Prize with The Washington Post in 2017.

Hannity, host of a show on Fox News, apparently could have broken the story. He didn’t.

A review of closed-captioning from Hannity’s program during June and early July of 2017 shows that the only mention of Trump Tower came June 30, when Kimberly Guilfoyle was guest-hosting and the network’s Geraldo Rivera mentioned Trump’s March 2017 tweet claiming falsely that Trump Tower had been wiretapped. (Guilfoyle is now dating Trump Jr.)

Hannity did talk about Russia a lot, though. On June 26, he railed against the coverage by his competitors.

“For months, the destroy-Trump media has been floating the conspiracy theories and pushing all kinds of unfounded accusations against President Trump and members of his administration,” Hannity said. “But guess what. It’s actually now boomeranging back. The left — they are the ones guilty of committing the very things that they have been accusing the president and people close to the president of. In other words, the real colluders are the ones who have been claiming collusion by trying to score cheap political points by making these absurd and wild claims about the president."

It's not clear that Hannity knew about the Trump Tower meeting at this point, but it speaks to Hannity's mind-set: The goal was to defend the president from accusations of working with Russia. Breaking the story about the Trump Tower meeting clearly didn't meet that goal.

Hicks herself didn’t see the emails setting up the Trump Tower meeting until June 28, according to the Mueller report. She was “shocked” by their contents “because they looked ‘really bad.’ ” She tried to broach the subject with Trump, who indicated that he didn’t think they’d ever leak unless more people had access to them. (This argument — that the emails would never be made public — mirrors what Mark Corallo, then a spokesman for Trump’s legal team, said he was told by Hicks after the Times’s initial report.)

Hicks had a suggestion, according to Mueller’s report: She “said she wanted to get in front of the story and have Trump Jr. release the emails as part of an interview with ‘softball questions.’ " Trump declined that idea.

Eventually the emails did become public, released by Trump Jr. himself after the Times obtained copies of them. In short order, Trump Jr. did participate in exactly the sort of interview that Hicks suggested.

He sat down with Sean Hannity.

Hannity insisted at the outset that he would hold Trump Jr.'s feet to the fire.

“We will ask him every single question I can think of on this topic,” Hannity promised at the top of his show. As we documented at the time, though, Hannity’s questions landed pretty far from that lofty goal. Key assertions made by Trump Jr. were left to stand on their own despite obvious holes that were known to exist even then.

At one point, Hannity asked Trump Jr. whether he’d turned over all of his documents about the meeting.

"More than happy to cooperate with everyone. I just want the truth to get out there,” Trump Jr. said. “That’s part of why I released all the stuff today. I wanted to get it all out there."

He was eager to get the story out to precisely the same extent, it seems, that Hannity was.