Rand Paul downplays potential Trump campaign finance violations: 'We’ve over-criminalized campaign finance'

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWashington braces for Trump's next move on Iran Overnight Defense: Latest on Iran after Trump halts planed strike | Dems call Trump's approach 'erratic' | Key Republican urges Trump to retaliate | Esper reportedly getting Defense secretary nomination Overnight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial MORE (R-Ky.) on Sunday downplayed any implication that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer Joint Chiefs chairman: 'The last thing in the world we need right now is a war with Iran' Pence: 'We're not convinced' downing of drone was 'authorized at the highest levels' Trump: Bolton would take on the whole world at one time MORE violated campaign finance laws during the 2016 presidential campaign, and argued it reflects a broader issue with penalties related to campaign expenditures.

"There are thousands and thousands of rules. It’s incredibly complicated, campaign finance," Paul said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"We have to decide whether or not really criminal penalties are the way we should approach campaign finance," he continued.

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"I personally think if someone makes an error in filing paperwork or in not categorizing a campaign contribution correctly, it shouldn’t be jail time, it ought to be a fine," Paul added. "It’s just like a lot of other things we’ve done in Washington. We’ve over-criminalized campaign finance."

The Kentucky senator rejected the possibility that Trump had committed a crime by allegedly directing his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to pay two women to keep quiet about alleged affairs during the 2016 campaign.

Paul likened it to John Edwards, the former Democratic presidential candidate who was unsuccessfully prosecuted over a similar scandal in 2008.

Trump has been embroiled in controversy over payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Both women alleged they were paid during the 2016 campaign to keep quiet about affairs they said they had with Trump more than a decade ago.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed court papers on Friday that said Cohen paid Daniels and McDougal at the direction then-candidate Trump.

Trump has offered changing explanations for the payment to Daniels after he initially denied knowledge of the agreement.