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'First-degree puppetry': Stephen Colbert defends 'Late Show' staffers after arrest at Capitol

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Stephen Colbert addressed the police detainment of a production team for "The Late Show" after they were charged with unlawful entry while filming at the United States Capitol Thursday.

During his show on Monday, Colbert explained that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who is voiced and operated by comedian Robert Smigel, was filming a special featuring interviews with several people at the Capitol building for two days.

The interviews, which were filmed Wednesday and Thursday, "were authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides," CBS said.

Colbert said the arrests by the Capitol Police "isn't that surprising." "The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were 18 months ago and for a very good reason," he quipped in reference to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in 2021. "If you don’t know what that reason is I know what news network you watch."

'Late Show' arrests: Stephen Colbert 'Late Show' team detained at U.S. Capitol while filming

He added that everyone was doing their jobs and acted accordingly. "Everyone was very professional, everyone was very calm. My staffers were detained, processed and released. A very unpleasant experience for my staff," the "Late Show" host said.

At the Longworth House Office Building, seven people "unescorted and without Congressional ID" were detained and charged with unlawful entry after calls of a disturbance, the USCP shared in a statement.

"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," the statement continued. "This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney."

Actor and comedian Robert Smigel performs as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in the hallways outside the House Select Committee on June 16.
Actor and comedian Robert Smigel performs as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in the hallways outside the House Select Committee on June 16.

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Colbert called it a "fairly simple story" until it was covered by Fox News and reportedly compared to the insurrection. "I’m shocked I have to explain the difference, 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,” he said.

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

Colbert added: "Drawing any equivalency between a rioter storming the 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 and obscenely trivializes the service and the courage the Capitol Police showed on that terrible day."

Stephen Colbert reacted after seven "Late Show" staffers were detained, charged and released at the U.S. Capitol while filming a segment.
Stephen Colbert reacted after seven "Late Show" staffers were detained, charged and released at the U.S. Capitol while filming a segment.

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Congress is currently in the midst of hearings regarding the riot, questioning a series of witnesses including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, a former U.S. attorney and a former Fox News political editor. They testified about the actions of the rioters and what happened in the Trump White House in the days following the 2020 presidential election.

Colbert said as the hearings continue, he's concluded, "The blame for that actual insurrection all lies with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's puppet."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Stephen Colbert reacts to 'Late Show' staffers US Capitol arrest