The Slatest

Andrew McCabe: Jeff Sessions Complained That He Missed When the FBI “Only Hired Irishmen”

Rod Rosenstein, Jeff Sessions, and Andrew McCabe stand in front of a DOJ backdrop. Sessions points toward the assembled crowd.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, left, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe in July 2017.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s new book, which details his frustrations with President’s Trump administration, has made it clear that his “disdain for Trump is rivaled only by his contempt for [Jeff] Sessions,” according to an assessment from Washington Post reporter Greg Miller.

According to Miller’s review of the book, McCabe saw then–Attorney General Sessions as a Trump-like idiot and racist who had “trouble focusing, particularly when topics of conversation strayed from a small number of issues,” failed to read intelligence reports, and jumbled classified material with publicly reported news.

The strangest detail from the book, though, had to do with Sessions’ thoughts on the FBI’s hiring practices. According to the Post:

The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. Not like all those new people with nose rings and tattoos — who knows what they’re doing?”

According to a Wall Street Journal review of the book, McCabe wrote in his book that Sessions was only interested in immigration issues. He obsessed over the connection between crime and immigration, and he believed that Islam was an inherently violent religion, according to the Post. When presented with a counterterrorism case, he would first ask where the suspect was born or where the suspect’s parents were from. “He blamed immigrants for nearly every societal problem and uttered racist sentiments with shocking callousness,” Miller concluded from McCabe’s book.

McCabe’s assessment is surprising in only that it comes so bluntly from a man who once was acting head of the FBI but now seems intent on speaking out against the men who made his professional and personal life so difficult for 10 months (before he was fired just hours before his planned retirement, blocking him from receiving his full pension benefits). Sessions has a long, long history of making racist and anti-immigrant comments, while also implementing racist and anti-immigrant policies. A non-exhaustive list includes: allegedly warning a black lawyer to “be careful how you talk to white folks”; calling the NAACP “un-American”; reportedly joking that he used to think the KKK was “OK” until he discovered some smoked marijuana; praising an 1924 immigration act promoted by Nazi-style eugenics; denigrating a judge in Hawaii as “sitting on an island in the Pacific”; fondly remembered George Wallace, America’s most famous segregationist politician, as “one of the most formidable third-party candidates in this century; and lauding “the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.”

As for actions, in Alabama, Sessions punished black activists, defended voter suppression tactics, and kept black judges off the federal bench. He opposed sentencing reform over the crack-cocaine disparity. He has opposed hate crime protections and defended the official display of the Confederate flag. He has regularly attended events hosted by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim groups, which he maintains a close relationship with. He touted falsehoods about DACA and immigrants in general. And of course, he pushed, relentlessly, for deportations and prosecutions of undocumented immigrants and even refugees fleeing domestic and gang violence.