On Friday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – the team talked with our own Chris Butler, investigative reporter at The Tennessee Star, about his visit to Phil Bredesen’s Nashville Senate campaign office on West End and whether or not Bredesen campaign worker Will Stewart appeared ruffled by his Project Veritas video debut where he made current headlines exposing the true intentions of Bredesen.
Leahy: Our lead story today, written by our intrepid investigative journalist, Chris Butler is about Will Stewart, the Tennessee Democratic Party employee who was captured on an undercover Project Veritas video shot at the Bredesen for Senate campaign offices on Nashville’s West End saying that Democrat senate nominee Phil Bredesen lied when he said he would have voted yes to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Stewart is still working at a position of authority at that Bredesen for Senate campaign office. How do we know that? Because Chris – who’s on the line with us now – went into that office yesterday and spoke with Will. Welcome Chris Butler great job yesterday!
Butler: Good morning thank you very much.
Leahy: So walk us through a little investigative journalist reporting that you, you were the only journalist in Tennessee, the only journalist in Tennessee to follow up on this story. Tell us how you went about it.
Butler: Well, I actually went to Nashville’s West End where the office space is. And I, you know I went to the door, knocked, rang the doorbell, nothing. I tried to open the door, and the thing was apparently locked. I was almost about to give up and then a one of the Bredesen staffers was walking in and he, I identified myself. Let me in.
Leahy: Now you said – Chris, you said, ‘hey I’m Chris Butler with The Tennessee Star,’ right?
Butler: Correct, correct. I said let me in. I go upstairs and sure enough the very first person I see is Will Stewart sitting at a desk.
Leahy: He was sitting at a desk? He wasn’t like, just, you know, receiving instructions from somebody else.
Gill: He wasn’t cleaning out his desk? He wasn’t being fired he’s still there?
Butler: No, he was still there. Everything was normal. I go up there, he was the last person I would be expected to see. I would have stayed home today. If I was that person on the Bredesen campaign, I would have asked to stay home.
Butler went on to describe how he asked Stewart if he was the guy in the video to which he answered yes. That was the only question he would answer as Chris continued the questioning asking about whether he was a paid employee and if the comments he made on the video was official jargon that was allowed in the office. Stewart did make a one and only final answer by stating, “I have been instructed by my higher-ups to issue a ‘no comment’ to any and all questions.”
Leahy: ‘By my higher-ups?’ Did he say who his higher ups where?
Butler: No he did not specify that.
Leahy: So it was like, it was like you’d be sort of taking the ‘Fifth Amendment’ to you wasn’t it?
Butler: It was something like that. It was sorta like the guy on the Hogan’s Heros.
Gill: (Imitating character) I know nothing, I see nothing, Sergeant Schultz. Hey were there a lot of volunteers there working? Because Politico had a story yesterday that the Bredesen campaign has lost a lot of their volunteers who after his vote for Kavanaugh expression, that he would have voted for Kavanaugh. A lot of these folks have said they weren’t going to campaign for him anymore. Was it an active day at the office yesterday?
As the conversation wrapped up, Butler proceeded to describe the ambiance at the office and that it appeared quite sparse and not particularly crowded. Leahy asked Butler about the recent Project Veritas video release and if Phil Bredesen really meant what he said and whether or not Will Stewart – a paid Tennessee Democratic Party employee – appeared in fear of his job as campaign president. They also discussed the presence of press or lack thereof as Butler was the only reporter that was at the West End location – except for one other outlet commenting on the Veritas video as a “right wing attack video.”
Listen to the full segment:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.