President Donald Trump on Tuesday told reporters that his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort being convicted of financial wrongdoing doesn't substantiate charges that his presidential campaign colluded with Russia.
Trump had just gotten off Air Force One as he was going to a rally in West Virginia but stopped by reporters to give his reaction to Manafort's conviction on eight counts, which was handed down earlier in the afternoon.
Trump said that he felt bad for Manafort, but he pointed out Manafort's conviction was not related to allegations Russian meddled in the 2016 election.
"I must tell you that Paul Manafort’s a good man. He was with Ronald Reagan, he was with a lot of different people over the years, and I feel very sad about that. Doesn’t involve me, but I still feel, you know, it’s a very sad thing that happened," Trump said. "This has nothing to do with Russian collusion."
He went on to say the Russia "witch hunt" was started to find collusion within his campaign and Manafort's conviction is unrelated.
"This started as Russian collusion, this has absolutely nothing to do—this is a witch hunt that ends in disgrace," he said. "But this has nothing to do what they started out, looking for Russians involved in our campaign. There were none."
"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. Again he worked for Bob Dole, he worked for Ronald Reagan he worked for many, many people and … this is the way it ends up. It was not the original mission, believe me," Trump said. "It was something very much different. So, had nothing to do with Russian collusion. We continue the witch hunt."
Trump did not comment on Michael Cohen's guilty plea as he walked away from the media.