We could have been spared considerable embarrassment had Mr. Colbert simply complied with Rep. Conyers’ request that he leave the chamber but unfortunately that was more class than the comedian could muster:
The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, but Rep. John Conyers is chairmen of the larger Judiciary Committee. In that role, he has a seat on the subcommittee, and he spoke up early in the hearing. To the surprise of many observers, Conyers used his time to ask Colbert to leave.Note to Conyers-always go with your first instinct.
"I'm so happy that you've helped us fill the room," Conyers said to Colbert. "I haven't seen this many cameras since -- when?"
"Maybe since impeachment," said Lofgren, to pained laughter among the lawmakers.
At that point, Conyers thanked Colbert for showing up and asked him to leave the room. Colbert seemed confused. Was Conyers asking him not to speak? No, Conyers said, he was asking him to leave altogether.
"You run your show," Conyers said. "We run the committee."
Colbert said he was there at the invitation of Lofgren and would do whatever she asked. Seeking a moment to think, Lofgren asked Republican Rep. Dan Lungren to speak for a few moments while she decided what to do.
Colbert stayed in place as the other witnesses made opening statements. When Colbert's turn came, Conyers briefly interrupted to say that he was withdrawing his request for Colbert to leave.