Trump says he “feels very badly for Paul Manafort” upon departure for Alabama, Georgia in wake of tornado deaths — live updates

As he departed for a trip to survey tornado damage, President Trump spoke about the sentencing of his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. “I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. I think it’s been a very tough time for him,” Mr. Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House Friday morning. On Thursday night, Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison.

The president noted that the judge in case said Manafort’s charges were not related to collusion with Russia and added, “It’s a collusion hoax. It’s a collusion witch hunt. I don’t collude with Russia.” That’s not exactly what Judge T.S. Ellis said, however. Ellis said Manafort was not in his court “for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government.”

Mr. Trump also addressed his former attorney Michael Cohen, claiming Cohen “lied” about a possible pardon. Cohen sued the Trump Organization Thursday, claiming the president’s business empire  failed to pay him nearly $2 million in legal fees. “It’s the most ridiculous suit I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Trump said of the lawsuit. 

Mr. Trump also called Democrats the “anti-Israel party,” after the House passed a weakened resolution to condemn hate following comments many perceived as anti-Semitic made by Rep. Ilhan Omar. The resolution, originally intended to condemn anti-Semitism, was broadened to encompass far more, and failed to mention Omar by name. 

The president is leaving for Alabama and Georgia Friday morning, after a tornado killed nearly two dozen people and ravaged communities there. The president will then leave Georgia for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is hosting a high-dollar fundraiser. 

Mr. Trump has expressed condolences for the lives lost and emphasized that the federal government will do all it can. At least 23 people, including seven people from one family, are dead a tornado in suddenly touched down in Lee County, Alabama, and devastated everything in its path. 

“We grieve by your side and we pledge our unwavering support to help you rebuild from the very depths of this horrible tragedy,” the president said Monday. 

Mr. Trump then heads to Mar-a-Lago, where he’ll attend a 6:30 p.m. fundraiser as the president tries to build up campaign coffers for his reelection. That fundraiser is closed to the press. 

On Friday morning, the president fired off tweets blasting the media and thanking Fox News for its coverage. 

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