Trump claims Manafort judge cleared him of Russia collusion: 'Stated loudly and for the world to hear'
President Donald Trump speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House (screengrab)

President Donald Trump predictably trumpeted pronouncements made by the judge at Paul Manafort's sentencing about their campaign contacts with Russia.


Judge T.S. Ellis III started off Thursday's sentencing hearing by pointing out that Manafort, who served as Trump's campaign chairman for several months in 2016, had not been convicted “for anything to do with Russian colluding in the presidential election” -- which the president ran with the following morning on Twitter.

"Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia," Trump tweeted. "But the Witch Hunt Hoax continues as you now add these statements to House & Senate Intelligence & Senator Burr. So bad for our Country!"

The judge sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison for defrauding banks and the government, and defense attorneys also claimed the case exonerated him from collusion allegations.

“I think what most importantly what you saw today is the same thing that we said from day one," said attorney Kevin Downing afterward. "There is absolutely no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved in any collusion with any government official from Russia."

Special counsel Robert Mueller, however, continues to investigate Trump campaign ties with Russia.