It was New Year's Eve 2009 and Republican Senator John Ensign seemed destined for political glory, maybe even a shot at the presidency. And why not? All the stars were aligning for the brash, handsome Republican superstar from Nevada. All except for one. My producer Gary Daughters and I had information that Ensign may have helped his best friend get a lobbying gig to shut him up. It didn't take long to find out why.
Ensign had slept with his best friend's wife. I asked him about it. In fact, I peppered him with questions. His lack of a response and his combativeness for my even asking spoke volumes.
Doug Hampton, Ensign's best friend and chief of staff, was hurting. Hurting a lot. Wouldn't you be too if you caught your boss and best friend having an affair with your wife?
When we reached out to Ensign's office, the last thing I expected was that he would grant me an interview. He had to know what I knew, right? After all, it wasn't like we picked up the story from the National Enquirer. It had already been picked up by the New York Times and the Washington Post. But nobody had asked Ensign about it fully and directly.
It was a holiday. Usually, those are slow news days. Maybe that's why Ensign agreed to do the interview. Or maybe he thought I wouldn't bring up such an embarrassing topic, even though he was the senator who did everything he could to impeach Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair. Yes, that left him wide open. But that's not why I chose to confront him about his peccadillo fully and directly.
"Aggressively" is how the interview was described in countless stories. I confronted him because I knew that he was the subject of both an ethical and legal investigation. The interview went viral overnight.
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