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Biden told Letterman he got arrested at 21 for breaching chamber at US Capitol, sitting in lawmaker’s seat

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A 2007 video clip has surfaced featuring then-U.S. senator and soon-to-be vice presidential running mate Joe Biden telling late-night talk show host David Letterman he was arrested for trespassing at the U.S. Capitol Building when he was young.

Biden said he traveled to Washington, D.C. when he was 21 years old during a Saturday when the Senate was in session. He told Letterman that he managed to enter the chamber easily and was arrested as he sat in the vice president’s chair.

Letterman, who has since retired, asked Biden what it was like to enter the chamber after being elected as a U.S. senator from Delaware at age 29.

“You know, I walked in when I was 21, and I got arrested,” Biden began. “It was a Saturday, I was down visiting some friends at Georgetown University, and I come up on a Saturday morning because I was always fascinated with the Senate. They had a Saturday session.”

“In those days, no guards stopping you everywhere. And they just got out of session. I walked in the back, all of a sudden I found myself in the chamber. I was stunned. I walked up, sat down in the presiding officer’s seat, guy grabbed by the shoulder, said: ‘you’re under arrest,’” Biden told Letterman.

The clip surfaces as now-President Biden has frequently criticized protesters who also entered the Senate chamber during a riot at the Capitol last month. 

Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden would support a 9/11-style commission to look into the riot and the breaches of the House and Senate chambers.

“It’s, of course, Congress’s decision to form this commission, as we talked about a bit in here, but it’s certainly one the president would support,” she told reporters.

“And President Biden has made clear his views on the tragic events of January 6th, including where responsibility for them lies. He backs efforts to shed additional light on the facts, to ensure something like that never happens again,” she added.

In a letter to House colleagues, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-N.Y.) declared there will be an “outside, independent 9/11-type Commission” to ‘investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack.’”

As to the legitimacy of Biden’s story, that is unclear; he has fabricated a story about being arrested in the past.

While on the campaign trail a year ago, Biden walked back previous claims that he was arrested while in South Africa in the 1970s attempting to meet with anti-Apartheid activist Nelson Mandela.

In an interview with CNN’s John Berman, Biden claimed that no, he wasn’t actually “arrested,” only that he “was not able to move where I wanted to go.”

“I turned around and everybody — all the entire black delegation was going another way,” he told Berman. “I said, ‘I’m not going to go in that door that says ‘white only,’ I’m going with them.’ They said, ‘You’re not, you can’t move, you can’t go with them.’ And they kept me there until finally, I decided that it was clear I wasn’t going to move.”

Nevertheless, what Biden told Letterman in 2007 — when juxtaposed with his stated feelings about what happened last month — drew howls about the irony online.

Jon Dougherty

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