Stephen Colbert staffers charged with illegal entry, Democrats placed in ‘awkward position’


Stephen Colbert’s producers and staffers arrested for trespassing a House office building did a disservice to Democrats who stoked outrage over the January 6, 2021 US Capitol riot.

Seven people working for ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ have been arrested and charged with trespassing after they were caught unescorted around 8:30 p.m. Thursday by United States Capitol police at the Longworth House office building.

Staffers were reportedly allowed back into the Longworth Building by an aide to Rep. Jake Auchincloss, Democrat of Massachusetts, according to Fox News, after being denied credentials for select committee hearings and being summoned by the Capitol police to leave.

Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University School of Law, said illegal entry was the “same charge that was leveled against the vast majority of those arrested” during the Capitol riot on January 6. 2021.

“If the crew thought it was better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission to stay, that was a particularly bad decision given the post-January 6 safety regulations,” Mr Turley wrote on his Blog. “It could put some of these members in an awkward position. It’s hard to downplay these security breaches after the January riots. »

He noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has “repeatedly attacked Republicans for not taking new security measures seriously and imposing heavy fines for non-compliance, including avoiding detectors. of metals”.

SEE ALSO: Schiff: Getting Pence to Testify Jan. 6 by Subpoena Is a ‘Possibility’

The CBS team previously conducted scripted interviews with Mr. Auchincloss as well as Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff of California and Stephanie Murphy of Florida, who both sit on the Jan. 6 panel, Fox News Congressional Correspondent, Chad Pergram. reported.

The irony was not lost on Rep. Barry Loudermilk, Republican of Georgia, who was single last week by the select committee for offering a tour to voters the day before the riot that included at least one person who marched on the Capitol.

Some lawmakers had suggested it was a reconnaissance mission for the rioters, but Capitol police said earlier this month that was not the case.

“While they accuse me of illegal Capitol tours, they are illegal Capitol tours. Who is going to hold them accountable?” Loudermilk said in a speech to the Faith & Freedom Coalition policy conference in Nashville.

Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican of Illinois, has called for an investigation of Colbert staffers, including Robert Smigel, the comedian behind the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog cigar puppet.

“I understand these people were brought in by someone associated with Adam Schiff’s office,” Davis said Friday on Fox News. “They were in the Cannon building trying to get to where the credentialed media were supposed to be stationed in the middle of the January 6 hearing yesterday.”

He said Colbert’s staff members were ordered to leave by Capitol police after being reported by accredited reporters, but they returned and a staff member who worked for the other staff member Congress had “offered a way for them to return to the House office buildings,” apparently referring to Mr. Auchinclos.

“We’ve seen them knock on the doors of people like [Republican] Kevin McCarthy’s office, Jim Jordan’s office,” Davis said. “What were they doing? Why were they there?

Capitol Police said there was an “active criminal investigation” into the incident and there may be further criminal charges.

In a statement, CBS said the production team was at the Capitol on Wednesday and Thursday to film a comedy segment for Mr. Colbert’s show featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

“Their interviews on Capitol Hill were cleared and pre-arranged by the congressional aides of the interviewed members,” the CBS statement read. “After leaving the members’ office during their final interview of the day, the production crew stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the hallways when detained by police. of the Capitol.”

Rep. Claudia Tenney, a Republican from New York, accused Democrats of “political theater,” saying no one is allowed in the Longworth Building without official identification and a congressional escort.

“They are not serious when their friends or the media on their side are unaccompanied, but the rest of us must have ambassadors and our constituents must be escorted even by interns to enter the building,” Ms. Tenney. “It’s a hypocritical double standard that they’re trying to portray and I think they’ve been arrested on that.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert, Republican of Colorado, tweeted, “It’s time for a Stephen Colbert committee after we threw him and his producers into solitary confinement for 17 months. That’s how it is now, right? Standard operating procedure?”

So far, House Democrats have not commented on the arrests. Mr. Schiff appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, but was not asked about the incident.

The Washington Times has contacted Mr. Auchincloss and Mr. Schiff for comment.

Mr Davis, a senior member of the House Administration Committee, which oversees the US Capitol Police, said he plans to pursue the case this week.

“We will be asking security officials why these arrests had to be made, what were they doing unescorted at a time when the 6th January select committee on the 50th anniversary of Watergate made believe my colleague Barry Loudermilk had somehow took children. with gift bags to do recon missions,” Davis said.

He added that “the only people arrested by The Capitol Police for visiting the House office buildings are the people who work for Stephen Colbert.


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