July 9th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
14 years ago

Coburn: 'I will never reveal' what I told Ensign

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Tom Coburn - who confronted fellow Sen. John Ensign in an effort to convince him to end an extramarital affair - denied allegations Thursday he'd suggested Ensign pay off the husband of the woman he was having an affair with, telling reporters on Capitol Hill that he would not berevealing the content of his conversations with the Nevada senator:

Reporter: At no point did you suggest payments be made?

Coburn: A categorical (denial) is exactly what I just said.

Reporter: But you denied millions, did you suggest payments at all?

Coburn: I categorically deny that, period.

Reporter: But do you deny that you were there at the February 2008…

Coburn: I was there.

Reporter: You were there?

Coburn: Sure.

Reporter: Is that the first time you learned about it?

Coburn: I'm not going to talk about that. I'm just telling you I was there.

Reporter: And you won't say what you told him?

Coburn: No, and I never will. Not to a court of law, not to the ethics committee, to anybody. Because that is privileged communication that I will never reveal to anybody.

–CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report

Related: Report: Senator tried to stop colleague's affair

Filed under: John Ensign • Tom Coburn
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. that is not a good thing

    letting us know you did not tell him to resign is not a good thing

    he should resign

    the whole episode shows that he is not a leader

    July 9, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. chris

    I'm a Democrat but he has a right to keep this matter a secret. I just hope he changes his views on family values and quits using them as a scapegoat to justify discrimination towards homosexuals.

    July 9, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Jeff in Virginia

    My guess is that Coburn had an affair of his own, and told Ensign how he dealt with getting out of it.

    July 9, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Will

    Dr. Coburn is one of the last remaining truly honorable politicians. He is a great man and the kind that our resembles some our incredible founding fathers. Obama is not fit to carry Coburn's shoes.

    July 9, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Shawn - GA

    Before you type your hate... please remeber that there has been far worse things. A president who had an afair in the Whitehouse comes to mind, he then lied under oath, then finally cam clean that he lied.

    I am not judging the man, I am jsut reminding you that everyone needs to be held to the same standard. I am not perfect nor are you. Stop being so hatefilled. The hater loses not the Hated.

    July 9, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. single mom

    Folks, y'all know there is only one way for US to deal with what is coming out of DC – At each election coming up, do NOT vote for the incumbent. That means in 2010 we could clear out the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate, 2012 the next third of the Senate and the House again if we need to, and by 2014, WE THE PEOPLE would have taken back our government. You know, the one that is supposed to be BY THE PEOPLE and FOR THE PEOPLE.

    July 9, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Allan

    His office issued a statement yesterday. I guess he needs to fire his own staff for violating Ensign's confidentiality.

    July 9, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Molly

    How is this privilaged information? Seriously...does anyone know? I thought privilaged information was between doctor/patient, attorney/client, church officials...stuff like that. Not a lying, cheating husband and his fellow congressman.

    July 9, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Luke Brown

    My guess is that, if Coburn had simply told Ensign to stop banging his girlfriend/staff member, he would have no problem reporting that to the media.

    Obviously, Coburn is refusing to comment to because he gave him a lot more "advice" than that... and disclosing it to the public would make him look less than angelic.

    What's wrong with the voters in Oklahoma? They seem to be the only state whose senators get automatic, tenured membership in the Congressional Idiots Club.

    July 9, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. notfooledtx

    Who really cares about Coburn? The fact remains Ensign is a cheat, liar and a hypocrit.

    Please mr. coburn let's hear you pontificate on the glories of the gop and their "family values" platform.

    July 9, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. citizenjane

    July 9th, 2009 3:05 pm ET

    omg who cares? even if he did pay off the husband, there'd be nothing illegal about it, so what's all the hullabaloo? WHERE IS THE STORY HERE?
    I don't know, Sniffit. If the husband was invovled with blackmailing Ensign, and Coburn was negotiating with the husband, wouldn't the husband, Ensign, and Coburn all three be guity of participating in blackmail and/or bribery?

    July 9, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Henri

    Aren't these comments hilarious about Coburn. Try to help a friend and spare his family by advising him to be faithful to his wife and it selfserving and unethical. All my relatives back in France should be Democrats since cheating on your wife is okay there too.

    July 9, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Scott L


    I have two words for you BILL CLINTON.

    And two more words for you MONICA LEWNISKY.

    Go ahead, justify it go ahead.

    One thing you won't get Reagan or any of the Bush's on is marital affairs. Only a matter of time before Obama falls if he has not already.

    July 9, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Sue

    The GOP and the better than anybody Dems are getting attention to just how corrupt both parties are. But God help us if we keep a total Dem party in power. We can kiss the USA goodbye

    July 9, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Ensign should resign...........it is never popular to mess around with other women. I am shocked that the State of Nevada will allow a hypicrite to continue to represents them....especially when he tried to cover this issue up by permitting himself to be blackmailed. If he sees no harm with that ....just what will he try to candy coat or cover up with regards to representing the good people of his state ????

    July 9, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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