July 9th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
11 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. I can see Canada from my house!

    No, Dr Coburn, you helped to facilitate a payoff. Resign, now, and go back to denying global warming on your own time.

    GOP=total moral paupers.

    July 9, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. GOP = 21st century dodo

    Standard GOP operating procedure

    July 9, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Phat Elvis

    Can you say SUBPOENA????

    July 9, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Davies

    Who CARES???????

    July 9, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. sms29s

    Now Coburn has stepped in it!

    July 9, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Nikolas Takacs

    Dr. Tom Coburn, I know you're a member of a learned profession, but do you know the meaning of "privileged communications" in a legal sense? Unless you are Senator Ensign's spouse, attorney, or priest, you cannot claim that the conversation was privileged in a court of law.

    July 9, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. Larry

    This just keeps getting better and better.

    This is not why we vote politicians into office. We expect them to do a job, like the rest of us.

    The Republican party is a thing of the past.

    July 9, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sounds like a cover up so ensign can keep his seat. Talk about unethical. And I thought Blago's pay-to-play scheme was bad. That's small fries compared to what I think is going on in Ensign's situation.

    July 9, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Ms. White

    If he had to testify about what he told Ensign to do, right now he would be in jail for contempt of court...
    Repugs...think they are above the law

    July 9, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. citizenjane

    Coburn musn't have gotten the memo from RNC Steele declaring the entire episode as old news. . . lack of communication fits right in with all those other pesky GOP negatives.

    On a lighter note, so glad Coburn isn't going to spill the beans. Been sitting on pins and needles worrying myself that he would.

    How silly you GOPers are.

    July 9, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Isn't Sen. Coburn's silence on this matter kind of unethical? Come on. Coburn may know if Ensign was paying these people to keep their mouths shut. This is why Ensign should resign.

    July 9, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    It appears that the "Christian Republians" house known as C-Street was the common denominator in a lot of the cases. I thinks it's where they gathered to discuss how to have an affair and get out of it the easiest way.

    More to come, folks ....................................................

    July 9, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Duck Fallas

    He told him he loved him and explained the benefits of a "wide stance."

    Palin-Bachmann 2012

    July 9, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Shawn - GA

    I am not perfect so I have no intrest in trying to judge anyone else.

    July 9, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    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?

    July 9, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Lauren

    I do believe he advised ensign to pay something, but we will probably not find out how much. Ensign only held the press conference because he knew the story was getting ready to come out, and he was being blackmailed.

    July 9, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. yuri

    Alright, we will leave you well alone, Coburn. Lat's see you do something useful and anticipate immediate and impressive results, buddy!

    July 9, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. marlene

    Sen. Coburn, from Oklahoma, has many times on national television and in the senate chamber expressed the "family values" endorsed by the Republican party. So, I'm not surprised that he offered his opinion. He and his colleagues, in residence in the "C Street" housing, probably share many conversations. Unless an "official" wrong doing comes to light, I expect we'll never know what was discussed.

    July 9, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Tulsa

    Coburn is a self serving jerk. As an Oklahoman, he is an embarrasment to all of us. A typical Republican who values lies and coverups over ethics and morals.

    So he will refuse to answer a direct question in a court of law? Yep, he's a Republican alright.

    July 9, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Tony

    That's the good ole buddy system for you!

    July 9, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Deb

    A bunch of crooks and they stick together. Both Coburn and Ensign need to resign.

    July 9, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Nick - Arlington, VA

    privileged? not exactly. Unless he thinks he is above a Congressional or judicial subpoena.

    July 9, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. ron

    The hits from the GOP just-a keeps- a-commin'.

    July 9, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. GI Joe

    Ahhhh – secrets, secrets, secrets – same old grand obstructionis party. Can't wait for 2010. We still have one of those worms as our Senator. NO MORE.

    Already campaigning to get rid of him. We got Dole "off the dole".

    July 9, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. GOP = Party of Hypocrites

    Coburn will do anything to defend Senator "Family Values" Ensign because embracing adulters and daiper-wearing prostitute cusomers like Vitter is what Promise Keepers do while condemning everyone else.
    Do as I say, not as I do.

    July 9, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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