U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss’s office on Monday denied any culpability in an alleged breach of the Capitol by staffers of a late-night CBS comedy show.
Staff members for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” who were arrested at the U.S. Capitol last week were let into the building by an aide to the Massachusetts congressman, media reports say.
The seven CBS employees were unescorted and in the building after hours in an area where the Jan. 6 committee was holding a hearing on last year’s attack on the Capitol, the Capitol Police told the Associated Press.
The group had been asked to leave the building Thursday by the same officers who made the arrests about 8:30 that night, police said.
The Colbert staffers, who had been denied credentials to cover the hearing, had entered the Capitol to interview Auchincloss and committee members Reps. Adam Schiff and Stephanie Murphy.
“The congressman had a scheduled interview with CBS, as did other members of Congress,” Matt Corridoni, a spokesman for Auchincloss, said Monday. “Our contact with them ended well before the building closed for the evening. We do not condone any inappropriate activity and cannot speak to anything that occurred after hours.”
CBS said its interviews with members of Congress had been “authorized and pre-arranged.”
The network said that after the interviews ended, the production team “stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls when they were detained by Capitol Police.”
Among the group were several Colbert producers and Robert Smigel, the voice of the puppet character Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
They were charged with unlawful entry of the Capitol, and police said the matter remains under investigation.
The incident was used by right-wing media to attack the bipartisan probe, with Fox News linking Democrats to the security violation.
Most of the attacks have been aimed at Schiff, a California Democrat and chair of the House Intelligence panel.