Trump avoids mention of Cohen, Manafort at West Virginia rally

President Trump exhorted West Virginia voters to back Republican Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey in November's midterm elections Tuesday night, but avoided any mention of the legal troubles of his former campaign chairman and former personal attorney.

Trump addressed the campaign-style rally in Charleston hours after Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight financial crimes and Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felony counts -- including two counts of violating federal campaign finance law.

The president briefly alluded to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election when he addressed what he described as "fake news and the Russian witch hunt."

"Where is the collusion?" Trump asked rhetorically. "You know, they're still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find some collusion."

But much of the rally followed a familiar pattern of Trump rattling off a list of accomplishments and urging voters to keep the Senate in GOP hands this November.

"We need to elect five, six, or even seven more senators and I think we can get it and we have to start with Patrick Morrisey," Trump said at a campaign-style rally in Charleston.

Morrisey, West Virginia's attorney general, is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin after a hard-fought primary victory over U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and former coal company CEO Don Blankenship.

"We love you, Mr. President," Morrisey told Trump as he took the stage for a five-minute interval to excoriate the man he called "dishonest, liberal Joe Manchin."

"Joe Manchin no longer has West Virginia values, period," said Morrisey, whom Trump echoed when he re-took the lectern.

"I like Joe, but Joe doesn't vote for us," Trump stated matter-of-factly. "[A Manchin vote is] a vote for Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, their new leader, Maxine Waters ... They're not in favor of West Virginia. They don't know that West Virginia exists."

Trump did flog a few of his favorite targets during the 75-minute rally. He attacked the NFL and ESPN over the issue of player protests during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." He also offered a brief comment on the kidnapping and murder of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, allegedly by a man living in the U.S. illegally.

"You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in, very sadly, from Mexico and you saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman?" Trump asked. "Should have never happened. Illegally in our country."

Earlier, Trump described the Manafort verdict as "a disgrace" as he landed in West Virginia, adding that "it doesn't involve me" and "has nothing to do with Russian collusion."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.