A Republican Senator just gave a laughable excuse for Trump’s porn star hush money payouts

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Republicans used to be notoriously unsympathetic toward any individuals accused of criminal behavior, passing punitive bills that were designed to protect their image as the party that was tough on people taking part in illegal actions.

The dawn of the Trump era forced a transformation in the GOP and now the party that once regularly preached “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” is reduced to making excuses to mitigate the criminal behavior of their party leader who happens to also be the President of the United States.

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) spent part of his morning today on CNN making just those sort of excuses for President Trump who has been outed by his former attorney Michael Cohen as a yet-to-be-indicted co-conspirator in a case of felony campaign violations in relation to his secret hush money payments to quash the story of his adulterous sexual liaisons with two different women during his 2016 campaign.

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Senator Rounds dismissed the idea of the equality of justice under the rule of law in diminishing the severity of the president’s criminal activity by excusing it as something that Trump did because he “loves his family” and did not want his licentious actions made public for them to discover.

“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 when he was asked about the details of Trump’s reimbursement to his former lawyer for the hush money payments after he had been sworn into office.

“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.”

Presumably, Senator Rounds is the face of the newly empathetic Republican party that would also excuse a man who shoplifted a package of hamburger meat from his local supermarket to feed his hungry children because of his concern for his family under the new ethical standards that Rounds’ comments suggest.

CNN‘s John Berman countered the Senator’s comments by pointing out that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York believes that “part of those payoffs were to influence the election,” and that any concerns about the shame he would face from his family would be secondary at best.

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Rounds punted when faced with the evidence that his line of reasoning was not coming across as particularly convincing.

“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 weakly.

With Michael Cohen’s revelation in his congressional testimony last week that Trump personally signed the reimbursement checks to his former lawyer after he was already in the White House, Trump has shifted from his initial denial that payments were made and that the affairs ever took place in the face of Cohen’s presentation of the hard evidence of signed checks.

Trump has continued to call Cohen’s assertion — that the payments were made at the president’s direction and with his full knowledge of their purpose — a lie, but with the prosecutors at the Southern District of New York in possession of incriminating documentation from both Cohen’s files and from AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer that helped the president cover up his sexual misbehavior, his denials are unlikely to be taken at face value.

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You can watch a clip of Senator Rounds’ attempts at defending President Trump in the video below.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

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Original reporting by Justin Wise at The Hill.

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Vinnie Longobardo

Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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