Retired federal prosecutor in Chattanooga shares thoughts on Sessions' resignation

Wayne Rich says he and Jeff Sessions have known each other for more than 30 years. They took this photo in Charleston, WV. LEFT: Jeff Sessions RIGHT: Wayne Rich

Wayne Rich served as a federal prosecutor for 33 years; ten serving as a U.S. attorney in Chattanooga. During his career, Rich says he's run into former attorney general Jeff Sessions plenty of times.

On Wednesday, news broke of Jeff Sessions' resignation from his role as the U.S. Attorney General.

"I'm very sad that he's leaving," said Rich. "I know what a fine human being he is and what a dedicated public servant he is to the rule of justice."

Says he wasn't surprised when Sessions recused himself from the investigation into the Russian probe. And even during an interview with News Channel 9 over a year ago, he praised special counsel Robert Mueller.

"He is the man to lead this investigation from a professional standpoint, fairness standpoint, and utmost integrity," Rich said in June 2017. "I think the American people are very blessed that he is in that position."

Since then, Rich says he's only been disappointed in Mueller and his investigation.

"Looking at their lawyers and their backgrounds of giving political contributions to the party you're investigating? I couldn't do that."

Fact check website Politifact found some of those lawyers did give some contributions to past Hilary Clinton campaigns, but federal law prohibits Mueller from hiring lawyers with political affiliations.

"If it's based on fact and not slanted because of people that work for him, political views and loyalties, then that's a good thing," said Rich. "I would hope that's what should happen."

As for disputes between the president and Sessions:

"There's a disappointment in me," he said. "They are not sitting down and hashing this out one on one like you and I are talking."

Several local lawmakers have reacted to the news. You can see those statements here.

Rich says he's never met Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, therefore he doesn't know his qualifications. Whitaker wrote an Op-Ed article for CNN criticizing Mueller's investigation. Rich says he'll likely have to face a committee about that.

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