Washington, DC – U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) arrested a CBS late show production team on Capitol Hill after they were caught filming a comedy skit in a closed Congressional office building.
The incident occurred on the evening of June 16 in the hallway of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, which is home to a number of lawmakers’ offices, The New York Times reported.
The building was closed to visitors at the time, and Capitol Police said the seven people who were arrested had already been asked to leave the building earlier in the day.
The trespassers were ultimately charged with unlawful entry, but U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves said more charges may be filed, The New York Times reported.
The arrests occurred while heightened security is in place at the Capitol complex because of ongoing Jan. 6 hearings and recent controversial U.S. Supreme Court rulings.
CBS released a statement after its employees were arrested that said the production team had been on Capitol Hill interviewing members of Congress with the Triumph, the insult comic dog, a puppet voiced by Robert Smigel for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The New York Times reported.
— Triumph® ᴛʜᴇ ɪɴsᴜʟᴛ ᴄᴏᴍɪᴄ ᴅᴏɢ™ Headquarters💩 (@TriumphICDHQ) June 16, 2022
The pre-arranged interviews with members of Congress were finished and the production team was filming “final comedy elements” when police arrived to arrest them, according to CBS.
The production team spent the night in jail before they were processed and released.
Stephen Colbert attempted to explain the arrests on his show on June 20, NPR reported.
“Democratic and Republican congresspeople agreed to talk to Triumph,” Colbert said. “He’s a bipartisan puppy. He’s so neutral, he’s neutered.”
“They went through security clearance, shot all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, invited into the offices of the congresspeople they were interviewing,” he said.
Colbert said his team’s arrested “actually, isn’t that surprising,” NPR reported.
“The Capitol police are much more cautious than they were, say,18 months ago, and for a very good reason,” he joked.
Conservative media commentators were quick to point out that the crimes committed by the CBS production crew were not unlike those of many of the Jan. 6 rioters who were charged after entering the U.S. Capitol illegally and mugging for cameras.
🚨 BREAKING: Tucker Carlson: Stephen Colbert's producers just committed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. pic.twitter.com/nJ8OSYwTSC
— The Sly Show🇺🇲 (@theslyshow) June 18, 2022
🚨BREAKING: SEVEN Stephen Colbert Show Staffers including High Level Producers Arrested at U.S. Capitol.
According to congressional sources, Adam Schiff was the one who let them in the U.S. Capitol pic.twitter.com/BYPGNZTzoG
— Art TakingBack 🇺🇸 (@ArtValley818_) June 17, 2022
But Colbert hit back and defended his production team and their intentions, NPR reported.
The late night host said it was “a fairly simple story,” “until the next night when a couple of the TV people started claiming that my puppet squad had quote ‘committed insurrection’ at the U.S. Capitol Building.”
“This was first-degree puppetry. Hijinks with intent to goof. Misappropriation of an old Conan bit,” Colbert said.