- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2022

Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rodney Davis of Illinois sent a letter Monday to the Capitol Police demanding details on the seven Stephen Colbert staffers charged with unlawfully entering the Longworth House Office Building.

The congressmen asked for all security footage, photographs, reports, witness statements, and other materials “related to the arrest of individuals associated with ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ on June 16, 2022.”

“Much has been made lately about unauthorized access to House office buildings, including debunked Democrat allegations that Republican members led so-called reconnaissance tours of the Capitol Complex in advance of January 6,” said the letter to Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger.

“Unlike the Democrat allegations of reconnaissance tours, however, the events on June 16 actually resulted in arrests for unlawful entry,” the Republicans said.

The Colbert production crew members arrived Wednesday at the Capitol to interview several House Democrats, according to CBS.
The late-night-TV staffers had sought to gain access to the Jan. 6 select committee hearing, but were denied media credentials and shooed away by Capitol Police.

Later, however, the “individuals reportedly gained access back into the building through Representative Adam Schiff, a member of the House Select Committee to Investigate January 6, and Representative Jake Auchincloss,” said the GOP letter.

“These individuals were arrested and charged with unlawful entry after causing ‘disturbances’ at the offices of several Republican members, including ‘banging’ on their office doors,” the letter said. “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.”

Mr. Schiff, Mr. Auchincloss and Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Florida Democrat, had been interviewed earlier by the production crew, Fox News reported.

Those arrested and charged include Robert Smigel, the comedian behind the cigar-chomping dog puppet Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who appears regularly on Mr. Colbert’s show.

The Capitol Police responded at 8:30 p.m. Thursday to a disturbance at the Longworth House Office Building, which reportedly included banging on the doors of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Mr. Jordan, the ranking Republican of the House Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Davis is ranking member of the House Administration Committee, which oversees the Capitol Police.

Mr. Schiff, who serves on the House select committee on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, appeared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” but was not asked about the incident.

Auchincloss spokesperson Matt Corridoni issued a statement Monday on the incident.

“The congressman had a scheduled interview with CBS, as did other members of Congress,” Mr. Corridoni said. “Our contact with them ended well before the building closed for the evening. We do not condone any inappropriate activity and cannot speak to anything that occurred after hours.”

The Jan. 6 select committee zeroed in last week on Rep. Barry Loudermilk, Georgia Republican, for leading a tour the day before the riot that included at least one person who participated in the march on the Capitol.

Mr. Loudermilk denied leading a “reconnaissance tour,” accusing the Jan. 6 committee of a “smear campaign” that has resulted in threats against himself, his staff and his family.

“Once again, instead of contacting me directly, the committee has released carefully edited and select information to the press, with the clear intention of creating a false narrative about the visit to my office by constituents on January 5, 2021. I, my family, and my staff continue to receive serious threats of violence,” said Mr. Loudermilk in a Wednesday statement. “I hold the J6 committee members and their staff directly responsible for these unfounded accusations and threats.”

CBS released a statement saying that the Colbert team’s interviews were “authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed.”

“After leaving the members’ office on their last interview of the day, the production team stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls when they were detained by Capitol Police,” said the network.

The Capitol Police said the incident is under an “active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide

Sponsored Stories