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

GOP Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsKlobuchar: Trump plan doesn't deal with 'comprehensive immigration issue' GOP gets used to saying 'no' to Trump On The Money: Wells Fargo CEO steps down | Trump vows to keep funding for Special Olympics | House panel approves marijuana banking bill | Controversial Fed pick gains support in Senate MORE (N.D.) on Tuesday appeared to suggest that President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit 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 CohenCohen challenges Sekulow to testify about Trump Tower meetings George Conway contrasts Trump denying 'cover-ups' with check to Michael Cohen Avenatti indicted for allegedly defrauding Stormy Daniels 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."