The U.S. Capitol was the scene of unauthorized entry by a group with potentially nefarious intent on Thursday, with seven employees of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert ultimately arrested and charged with trespassing in the Longworth House Office Building, as the New York Post reports.
The individuals detained reportedly included Robert Smigel of “Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog” fame, Late Show writer Josh Comers, and associate producer Allison Martinez, among others, according to Fox News.
Unescorted and uncredentialed
U.S. Capitol Police explained to the Post that the Colbert staffers were discovered inside the House office building at roughly 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and were found to be “unescorted and without Congressional ID” on the sixth floor of the facility at a time when it was closed to the public.
Notably, the same group had been ejected from the Jan. 6 committee hearing room earlier in the day due to their lack of required press credentials, according to Fox News.
The outlet also reported that the trespassers from Colbert’s show had taken photographs and videos in the vicinity of the congressional offices used by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
Reports suggest that the group had been officially invited onto the premises earlier in the day for the purpose of conducting interviews with Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), but were escorted out for having made their way to the Jan. 6 hearing area.
It was later on that day that an aide to Auchincloss reportedly facilitated their re-entry, after which the Colbert group lingered inside the building unattended for several hours.
According to Capitol Police, the Late Show staffers were charged with “Unlawful Entry,” and the agency indicated that the matter remains the subject of an “active criminal investigation and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney.”
Republican Rep. Rodney Davis (IL) has pledged to pursue additional information about the incident in the coming week when Congress is back in session, and he aptly noted the fact that the buildings in which the Colbert staffers were arrested were the same ones involved in a tour given on Jan. 5, 2021 by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), which Democrats have long erroneously claimed was offered in furtherance of protests planned for the fateful day that followed.
Davis recently received a letter from Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger noting that Loudermilk did not in fact engage in anything “suspicious” on the day in question, despite Democrat assertions to the contrary, with the accused Georgia Republican himself claiming vindication by declaring, “What the Capitol Police said doesn’t fit the narrative that the January 6 committee wants to come up with.”
Given the hyperbolic, “insurrection” narrative that Democrats have pushed about those who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, it is no surprise that their critics were quick to point out the apparently disparate treatment of the TV trespassers, who reportedly spent just one night in jail, with conservative radio host Mark Simone tweeting, “This is exactly what the January 6th protesters are charged with, so will these Colbert creeps get the same, no bail, solitary confinement treatment???”
Underscoring the gravity of the potential injustice that may be afoot in relation to the Colbert folks, conservative author and commentator Mark Levin asked simply, “Why were they released” and declared that “[t]hey damn well better be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Whether that will happen, however, only time will tell.