GOP senator suggests Trump may have paid hush money because he 'loves his family'

GOP Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsGOP struggles to find backup plan for avoiding debt default Trump puts hopes for Fed revolution on unconventional candidate Senate GOP raises concerns about White House stopgap plan to avoid shutdown MORE (N.D.) on Tuesday appeared to suggest that President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE made a nondisclosure payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels because he "loves his family" and did not want her allegations to become public. 

"I think most of us have a concern anytime you have a president who is trying to work through some very personal matters," Rounds said on CNN's "New Day" after being questioned about a report detailing how Trump reimbursed his former lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenFeds unlikely to charge Trump Organization execs in campaign finance case: report Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy Trump associate Felix Sater grilled by House Intel MORE for the hush money payments after he had been sworn into office.   

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"I honestly think this president loves his family and I think it has as much to do with trying not to have public discussions about something that for him is a private matter. I don’t think he wanted his family to go through this." 

CNN's John Berman responded to Rounds's comments by noting that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has alleged that "part of those payoffs were to influence the election."

"You know, right now we talk about what are considered campaign expenses, legitimate campaign expenses, I’m not going to try to litigate that today," Rounds responded. 

The comments come as Trump's involvement in a hush money payment to Daniels about an alleged affair gains renewed scrutiny. Cohen, Trump's longtime attorney and "fixer," testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee last week that Trump directed him to break campaign finance law and make the payment. 

During his testimony, Cohen provided Congress with a copy of a $35,000 check from August 2017 he says was from Trump. He said that the money was a partial reimbursement for the payment he made to Daniels. 

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Trump or his trust sent reimbursement checks to Cohen on 11 separate occasions. The report also included details on how Trump took the time to write checks reimbursing Cohen while conducting official government business. 

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison last year after pleading guilty to financial crimes, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

Federal prosecutors in December released a court filing saying Cohen "acted in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump before the election in steering payments to silence Daniels and another woman, Karen McDougal, about alleged affairs. Trump has repeatedly denied the affairs. 

Trump claimed earlier this week that Cohen's testimony was a "lie."