Stephen Colbert downplays Late Show staff arrest by US Capitol Police as a ‘non-surrection’


Stephen Colbert downplays detention of Late Show staff by US Capitol Police as a ‘non-surrection’ and jokes that Triumph the Insult Dog should be charged with ‘first degree puppetry’ – though they could still be criminally charged

  • Stephen Colbert began his Monday night show by talking about the arrest of members of his staff in DC last Thursday
  • Colbert said that his staff were interviewed by Republican and Democrats for a segment on the show
  • The comedian said that he understood why Capitol police were on edge following the January 6
  • Colbert said it was a ‘simple story’ until TV news began reporting on the incident
  • The arrests of Colbert’s staffers was also the first segment on Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson’s shows 

‘The Late Show’ host Stephen Colbert wisecracked about his staffers being detained on suspicion of unlawful entry to the US Capitol, and insisted they did nothing wrong. 

The host dismissed the comparisons between his staff’s arrest and the January 6 riot as a ‘non-surrection’ and joked that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog should be charged with ‘first degree puppetry.’

Colbert began his monologue by saying: ‘How was your weekend? I certainly had an interesting one, because some of my staff had a memorable one.’ 

He continued: ‘Triumph offered to go down to DC to interview some Congress people to highlight some January 6 hearings.’ 

Colbert joked: ‘I said, ‘Sure, if you can get anyone to talk to you. Because, and please don’t take this as an insult, you’re a puppet.’

The funnyman insisted his team had scheduled chats with both Democrat and Republican lawmakers, and that everything had been organized and cleared with the appropriate officials. 

On January 16, at least seven people associated with Colbert’s CBS talk show were arrested in the nation’s capital. Among those arrested was the comedian behind Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Robert Smigel. 

They were caught close to the offices of GOP Reps Lauren Boebert and Kevin McCarthy, although its unclear if either politician had agreed to a sit-down.  

 In a statement to DailyMail.com, the US Capitol Police said: ‘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. They were charged with Unlawful Entry.’ 

The statement concluded: ‘This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the US Attorney.’

The US Attorney in question is Matthew Graves, of the District of Colombia. 

During the opening of his show, Colbert said: ‘After they finished their interviews, they were doing some last-minute puppetry and jokey make-em-ups in a hallway, when Triumph and my folks were approached and detained by the Capitol police — which actually isn’t that surprising.’ 

The comedian noted: ‘The Capitol police are much more cautious than they were, say, 18 months ago, and for a very good reason. If you don’t know what that reason is, I know what news network you watch.’

Robert Smigel pictured the day before his arrest filming at the US Capitol

Robert Smigel pictured the day before his arrest filming at the US Capitol

According to the capitol police: 'This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the US Attorney'

According to the capitol police: ‘This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the US Attorney’

Colbert described the incident as: ‘The Capitol police were just doing their job, my staff was just doing their job, everyone was very professional, everyone was very calm. My staffers were detained, processed and released. A very unpleasant experience for my staff.’ 

He went on to say that the entire incident was a ‘fairly simple story’ until TV news ‘started claiming that my puppet squad had committed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building.’

Colbert joked: ‘First of all: what? Second of all: huh? Third of all, they weren’t in the Capitol building. Fourth of all and I’m shocked I have to explain the diference, but an insurrection involves interrupting the lawful action of Congress and howling for the blood of elected leaders, all to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. This was first-degree puppetry.’ 

The group was arrested inside of the Longworth House Office Building. 

Those detained in addition to Smigel have been named as Jake Plunkett, Allison Martinez, Tyrone Dean, Stephen Romond, Nicoletta Green, Brendan Hurley, Josh Comers and David Feldman. 

Prop coordinator Brendan Hurley has been with Colbert since the host's Comedy Central show, 'The Colbert Report'

Prop coordinator Brendan Hurley has been with Colbert since the host’s Comedy Central show, ‘The Colbert Report’

Colbert pictured with senior producer Jake Plunkett

Colbert pictured with senior producer Jake Plunkett

Colbert staffer Nicoletta Green was among those arrested. She has worked on the show since September 2020

Colbert staffer Nicoletta Green was among those arrested. She has worked on the show since September 2020

Despite not naming anybody in particular, Colbert condemned those who have compared the arrest of his staff to the January 6 riot. 

He said: ‘It’s predictable why these TV talkers are talking like this. They want to talk about something other than the January 6 hearings, the actual seditionist insurrection that led to the deaths of multiple people and the injury of over 140 police officers.’

The comedian continued: ‘Drawing any equivalence between rioters storming our Capitol to prevent the counting of electoral ballots and a cigar-chomping toy dog is a shameful and grotesque insult to the memory of everyone who died.’ 

Colbert concluded by saying that the comparison ‘obscenely trivializes the service and the courage the Capitol police showed on that terrible day. But who knows? Maybe there was a vast conspiracy to overthrow the government of the U.S. with a rubber Rottweiler.’ 

In a brief statement on the arrests, a CBS spokesperson told DailyMail.com on Friday that Colbert’s staff were detained following their final interview after they stayed behind to film ‘comedy elements in the halls.’

The spokesperson said that the interviews were authorized and pre-arranged through congressional aides. 

The team were filming at the Capitol on June 15 and 16, the spokesperson said. 

 The June 21 episode featured New Jersey Senator Cory Booker as a guest as well as indie band The Lumineers. 

Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to Capitol police asking for more details on the arrests of Colbert's staff

Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to Capitol police asking for more details on the arrests of Colbert’s staff

Also on Monday, Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rodney Davis of Illinois sent a letter to Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger demanding details about the arrests. 

The letter read in part: ‘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.’  

It continued: ‘Unlike the Democrat allegations of reconnaissance tours, however, the events on June 16 actually resulted in arrests for unlawful entry.’

The congressmen added: ‘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 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,’ the congressmen wrote.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, who broke the news of the arrests, wrote on FoxNews.com that it would have been impossible for the crew to be in a congressional building without a minder.

Pergram said that after the group were originally ejected from the grounds by Capitol police, they were let back in by an aide for Massachusetts Congressman Jake Auchincloss. 

According to Pergram’s report, the group told the aide that they had more interviews to conduct.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson took a mocking tone when he brought the arrests in the opening segment of his show. 

Carlson said that most Americans ‘are still shaking as we think about how close this country came to losing our democracy last Thursday.’

He added: ‘Where were you on 6/16? You’ll never forget and neither will we. At the time, we were preparing a show on Tony Fauci and his push for a new Corona shot for kids. It seemed important then. It seems so trivial now.’

Carlson joked: ‘The group in the Capitol was under the direct control of an extremist called Stephen Colbert, who as a White man, is, by definition a White extremist.’

The former CNN and MSNBC star went on to say that Colbert’s staff were ‘domestic terrorists.’

In an appearance on ‘Hannity’ on June 20, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz said that Colbert’s staffers should face the exact same consequences as those convicted of taking part in the January 6 riot.  

Hannity said in the opening of his show: ‘Where’s the outrage from the Democrats? Aren’t they concerned about trespassing and securing the Capitol? Or is that only when they can use it to attack Donald Trump?’

When Chaffetz appeared he told the host: ‘All you asked for is equal application of the law’

He continued: ‘If somebody breaks the law, they should be charged. On the one hand, I’m glad that the Capitol Police had the political guts to actually arrest these people, there is I think a question as to, how is it that they got back into the Capitol?’

The former congressman added: ‘I want to see these people prosecuted to the same degree and the same outrage that the left pretends on January 6 people,’ according to Mediaite. 

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