Two GOP House members want Capitol Police to explain how a group of staffers from “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” were able to enter a Capitol Hill office building last week with the “apparent intent of harassing Republican officials.”
In a Monday letter to Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said the party of seven had caused “‘disturbances’ at the offices of several Republican members, including ‘banging’ on their office doors.”
“The individuals were originally in the Capitol Complex in connection with the activities of the January 6th Select Committee, but it is unclear whether the Select Committee had any involvement in or awareness of these individuals’ planned harassment of Republican offices,” Jordan and Davis added.
The Colbert staffers — including Robert Smigel, the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog — had been in the Capitol Thursday to interview three Democratic members of the House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot: Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Stephanie Murphy of Florida and Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts.
The crew was booted from the building, but were later let back in by an aide to Auchincloss, according to reports.
The CBS host defended the staffers in his opening monologue Monday night, saying they were there to film a Triumph segment and downplaying the arrests as “first-degree puppetry.”
“After they’d finished their interviews, [my staffers] were doing some last-minute puppetry and jokey make-’em-ups in a hallway, when Triumph and my folks were approached and detained by Capitol Police,” Colbert said.
“The Capitol Police were just doing their job, my staff was just doing their job, everyone was very professional, everyone was very calm,” the funnyman went on. “My staffers were detained, processed and released. A very unpleasant experience for my staff.”
In their letter, Jordan and Davis compared the Colbert crew’s actions to allegations that Republican lawmakers led “so-called reconnaissance tours of the Capitol” prior to the riot.
“Unlike the Democratic allegations of reconnaissance tours, however, the events on June 16 actually resulted in arrests for unlawful entry,” they wrote.
Capitol Police said in a statement that officers received a “call for a disturbance in the Longworth House Office Building” around 8:30 p.m. Thursday, adding that the seven individuals were “unobserved, unescorted and without Congressional ID.”
“The building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day,” the department said. “They were charged with Unlawful Entry. This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney.”