January 20th, 2010
10:44 AM ET
5 years ago

Accused White House party crashers plead the Fifth

Washington (CNN) - In what one member of Congress called "a charade," a couple that showed up at President Obama's first state dinner - uninvited, the White House claims - declined to answer questions surrounding the event before a House committee Wednesday.

Under questioning from House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, and others, Tareq Salahi repeated over and over again, "On the advice of counsel, I respectfully assert my right to remain silent and decline to answer your question."

The Salahis' attorney notified the committee in December that because of a pending investigation by federal prosecutors, they would not answer questions about how they gained entry to the White House on November 24, despite not being on the guest list to attend that night's state dinner for the prime minister of India.

In a brief statement that opened the often-contentious hearing, Salahi chastised the committee for requiring the couple to appear despite having been told the two would invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if subpoenaed. That, he alleged, is against the ethical rules of the Washington bar.

He incensed some committee members by reiterating the couple's respect for U.S. troops, the Secret Service and the president.

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soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Silence Dogoode

    Why are we wasting time and $$$ on this? The social secty and CIA screwed up......they just took advantage of the incompetence....

    January 20, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. hongli

    The White House needs to stand up to these two rebels and make them a PUBLIC EXAMPLE once and for all.

    January 20, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    They know that they shouldn't have been there when they didn't have actual tickets in their hands. They should be fined enough to cover the Congressional hearings and the Secret Service investigations. I don't know how they didn't bother to verify if they could go given that it was to the White House.

    January 20, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. rob

    What jerks.

    January 20, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Jane/Seattle

    What else are they gonna do? How about some reporting on some other options the Dems have to counter this right-wing guys vote. Howard Dean has the best ideas!

    January 20, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Scott, Tucson

    Mr. Salahi when some democratic committee member tells you that you are in contempt of Congress...reply by saying you have nothing but contempt for this congress!

    January 20, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. Shirley In California

    They were wrong and they should be punished. End of story.

    January 20, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    Send them both to gitmo.

    January 20, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. The Other Michael in Houston

    Well no kidding! Did you actually think he would tell the truth??????

    January 20, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. KJ

    So now, they have nothing to say! What are they hiding? Maybe if Congress paid them they would talk!

    January 20, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Steve, New York City

    This story is pretty silly already . . . though I must say that Mrs. Salahi is a HOTTIE – she can crash my parties any time!

    January 20, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Gary, Los Angeles

    The problem is NOT the crashers, but the people who let them in! They are the ones who should be up for questioning and then firing!

    January 20, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Stop the Nonsense

    No invitation? Got in illegally? Arrest them and put themin jail. They will talk quickly.
    This was a breach of national security. treat it as such if they will not cooperate.

    January 20, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    lock them up . couple of jerks .

    January 20, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Donkey Party

    They really aren't taking this very seriously. I hope they receive the harshest possible punishment after the dust settles.

    January 20, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Kevin in Ohio

    Of course they do. They are typical lying cheating democrats who think only of themselves.

    January 20, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Ron in California

    Ok folks lick your wounds...learn from this and move on. Wsting time and money on this is absurd...somebody just didn't do their job.

    January 20, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. B

    They should be in jail!

    January 20, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Joe from Ohio

    It just seems the Dems are not getting any RESPECT

    POOR BABIES

    January 20, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. TexasJack

    They're all Obama's friends. This is an injustice for the Secret Service to have been fired. Impeach Obama instead. There is no telling what secrets he is giving away to people we don't need hearing them. Impeach this animal.

    January 20, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. ROBERT

    IF THEY DON'T WANT TO TALK, PUT THEIR BUTTS IN JAIL UNTIL THEY DO.

    END OF DISCUSSION

    January 20, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. billy123

    These party craches are something else? They crash the party and now they claim they are the victoms.

    January 20, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Mike

    And what if they are telling the truth and did have an invitation? What then? If they did not have one then they are simply seeking to draw attention to themselves but it is such a stupid egocentric thing to do. I really think the BIG mystery here is only the one that

    January 20, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Mike

    And what if they are telling the truth and did have an invitation? What then? If they did not have one then they are simply seeking to draw attention to themselves but it is such a stupid egocentric thing to do. I really think the BIG mystery here is
    only the one that this couple is trying to create.

    January 20, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |