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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform 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 Coburn-trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground Al Franken: 'I make fun of the people who deserved it' The more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit MORE (Okla.), his D.C. housemate, for an extended conversation.

Several Democrats also walked over to express a private greeting, including Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico MORE (N.Y.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillKoch-backed group targets red-state Dems on tax reform Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Las Vegas highlights Islamist terrorism is not America's greatest domestic threat MORE (Mo.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTrump: Why isn't Senate looking into 'Fake News Networks'? 5 takeaways from Senate Russian meddling presser Trump: 'America is truly a nation in mourning' MORE (Va.) and John KerryJohn Forbes KerryFor the sake of national security, Trump must honor the Iran deal Bernie Sanders’s 1960s worldview makes bad foreign policy DiCaprio: History will ‘vilify’ Trump for not fighting climate change MORE (Mass.)