How Colbert show staffers got themselves hurled out of two House office buildings

Posted 3 days ago


You can’t be in a House or Senate office building or anywhere in the U. S. Capitol without a minder.

Even if you’re Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.

U. S. Capitol Police (USCP) arrested seven production staffers from "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert — eight if you include the puppet dog — and charged them with unlawful entry last Thursday night.

Fox is told they were banging on the office doors of House Republicans in the Longworth House Office Building and being "disruptive, loud" and "theatrical" as they recorded comedy skits for the Late Show around 8:30 pm. Capitol Police had enough and arrested the crew near the office of Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., on the sixth floor of Longworth.

The problem is that the "Colbert 7" weren’t even supposed to be inside the Capitol complex. Especially at that hour.

The House and Senate Radio/TV Galleries have a process for credentialing "electronic" news reporters, such as TV. The Radio/TV Correspondents Association (RTCA), comprised of journalists who cover Congress, typically determines who and what organizations qualify for a permanent or a temporary press pass to cover Congress. For instance, CBS News qualifies. A group from The Late Show does not. That’s entertainment.

Fox is told that Colbert’s crew applied for credentials to cover the Jan. 6 committee hearings. But the House Radio/TV Gallery put the kibosh on that. The issue never even reached the RTCA. The Late Show folks don’t qualify as "news" reporters.

Still, members of Colbert’s team showed up last week in the Cannon House Office Building for the hearing by the committee probing last year’s riot.

U. S. Capitol Police required a special "overlay" in addition to a standard press credential to cover or get near the area where the 1/6 committee conducts its hearings. But Colbert’s team appears to have ignored some of those parameters. They arrived earlier in the day Thursday to conduct interviews with Jan. 6 committee members Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla. They also interviewed Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass. However, Auchincloss is not a member of the panel investigating the riot.

The Colbert group was milling about the area in the Cannon House Office Building where the Jan. 6 committee conducted its hearing last week. USCP booted them from the building since they didn’t have the proper credentials. However, Fox learned that the Late Night team came back and were let into the House office buildings by an Auchincloss aide sometime after 4:30 p.m. et Thursday. Fox is told that the Auchincloss staffer was told they had more interviews to do.

Which brings us the sixth floor of Longworth Thursday night.

The same group of officers who evicted the Colbert crew from near the hearing room earlier in the day came across them again. They lacked an escort. They weren’t credentialed. So the officers summoned a USCP captain.

Upon arrival, the captain determined they should arrest the Colbert 7. After all, they weren’t supposed to be in the Capitol complex at that hour unattended. This was augmented by the fact that they were bounced from the Cannon building earlier in the day.

Fox is told that the Colbert team was cooperative with USCP.

If there is a "demonstration" at the Capitol, USCP officers typically give the offenders "three warnings" before beginning arrests. The first warning advises the demonstrators they are breaking the law and are asked the leave. The second warning mirrors the first. USCP arrests suspects if they fail to comply with the third warning.

However, a source familiar with the investigation tells Fox, "This was not a demonstration. This was unlawful entry."

A source familiar with the investigation tells Fox USCP didn’t need to give them "three warnings" like what would happen with a demonstration.

It is rare to arrest people in the House and Senate office buildings ... (Read more)