Ensign in spotlight upon return

Sen. John Ensign returned to Capitol Hill Monday, a week after admitting an extramarital affair, but stayed largely silent under the media glare.

The Nevada Republican showed up at his first-floor office in the Russell Senate Office Building in the afternoon, declining to comment in detail to reporters.

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A handful of reporters and photographers had kept watch over Ensign's office from the end of a hallway connecting it to the Senate subway for about two hours.

Emerging for a procedural vote on a tourism promotion bill with Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (R), Ensign walked from the Russell building outdoors to the front door of the Senate as a half-dozen reporters and cameramen trailed him.

Ensign repeatedly resisted commenting when asked details about his affair with a staffer and reports that extortion was involved. He instead referred reporters to his public statement in Las Vegas last Monday, at which he refused to take questions.

“I have no more other comments to make,” he said. “I have nothing further to add.”

The senator repeated variations of that statement seven times when asked about the affair and whether he would resign. He has already resigned as GOP policy chairman, the Senate’s No. 5 leadership position among Republicans

Asked what he’s done since returning to Washington, Ensign said he has talked to other senators and has “been getting back to work for the people of Nevada.”
Ensign was greeted warmly by his Republican colleagues when he walked  on to the Senate floor.

Under the watch of Senate reporters, GOP Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has 'level of sympathy' for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary MORE (Ky.) and GOP Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) made pointed displays of shaking Ensign’s hand and grasping his shoulder. The senator retreated to his desk, sitting next to Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnAl Franken: 'I make fun of the people who deserved it' The more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit Congress, stop using our nation's military policy for political purposes MORE (Okla.), his D.C. housemate, for an extended conversation.

Several Democrats also walked over to express a private greeting, including Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerDemocrats urge Trump to condemn Charlottesville violence Melania Trump on Charlottesville protests: 'No good comes from violence' It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (N.Y.), Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillSenators push for possible FCC enforcement over Lifeline fraud Democrat senator: Trump has elevated Kim Jong-Un to the world stage It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (Mo.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerTrump declares 'racism is evil' after firestorm How the New South became a swing region How to fix Fannie and Freddie to give Americans affordable housing MORE (Va.) and John KerryJohn KerryCongress needs to assert the war power against a dangerous president Sinclair and 'Big Media': The outrage that caused the outrage Tillerson sets a lost State Department on the right course MORE (Mass.)