Stephen Colbert Almost Kicked Out of Hearing on Capitol Hill


By Donovan Slack, Globe Staff

At least one lawmaker was not amused.

Comedian Stephen Colbert had barely seated himself at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing this morning when US Representative John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, asked him to leave. Conyers said the committee had not seen so many reporters at a hearing since presidential impeachment proceedings in the late 1990s, and he wanted Colbert to leave so that the committee could carry on with its work.

Colbert, however, did not budge, saying that he was present at the invitation of the hearing chair, US Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California. But Colbert said if Lofgren wanted him to leave, he would.

Lofgren said she wanted him to stay, and a good portion of Capitol Hill was glued to broadcasts of the hearing.

The hearing was about illegal immigrants and farm work. Colbert, host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, recently spent one day working on a farm.

Colbert, who got five minutes to share what he called his “vast knowledge” of farm labor, began by touching on the effect of his presence.

“I certainly hope that my star power can bump this hearing all the way up to C-SPAN1,” he quipped.

His testimony at times bordered on the absurd.

“The obvious answer is for all of us to stop eating fruits and vegetables,” he said at one point. At another, he said, “Maybe the easier answer is to have scientists create vegetables that pick themselves.”

Colbert did include one seemingly serious notion.

“Maybe we could offer more visas to the immigrants, who lets face it, will probably be doing these jobs anyway,” he said before thanking the committee for allowing him to testify.

Raw Story: Congressman John Conyers Calls For Investigation of Bush Abuses

Raw Story

Daniel Tencer

conyersThe chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has called for both a criminal investigation and a blue-ribbon panel to look into “Bush administration abuses of power and misconduct.”

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) told the National Press Club Friday that both avenues should be pursued because a criminal investigation would be done in private, while a blue-ribbon “9/11-type” panel would work publicly and would create a public record of the Bush administration’s actions.

Conyers also slammed former Bush administration officials who are refusing to testify before the judiciary committee. He rejected the notion that “executive privilege” prevents Bush White House officials from answering questions before Congressional committees.

“Wait a minute,” he said, “you don’t know what questions we’re going to ask.”

“If we ask a question that you think can’t be answered, we can set it aside … but the blanket [notion that] anybody near the White House doesn’t have to come to a hearing, that wouldn’t wash at my son’s freshman class at Moorhouse College in Atlanta much less with me.”

“Congress’s role has been diminished as the President’s executive role has increased,” Conyers warned, adding that his committee is “in the process of enforcing” subpoenas against Bush-era White House counsel Harriet Myers and former Chief of Staff Josh Bolton.

Earlier this month, news reports indicated that Attorney-General Eric Holder is considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Bush-era misconduct.

Video of Conyers’ comments to the National Press Club can be found here.

— Daniel Tencer

Karl Rove Discusses His Second Subpoena From House Judiciary Committee

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