Britain to investigate leak of ambassador's comments on Trump

President Trump criticized Britain's ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch after leaked memos show Darroch called Trump's administration 'dysfunctional' and 'inept.'
Leaked confidential communications by the British ambassador in Washington, Kim Darroch, assess an "insecure" and "incompetent" Trump administration.
Britain's ambassador to Washington Kim Darroch said that US President Donald Trump radiated "insecurity" and his administration was "clumsy" and "inept".
Britain's ambassador to Washington Kim Darroch said that US President Donald Trump radiated "insecurity" and his administration was "clumsy" and "inept".PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON (DPA) - The British government on Sunday (July 7) said it plans to investigate the leak of sensitive memos in which its ambassador to Washington called US President Donald Trump's administration "clumsy" and "inept".

"A formal leak investigation will now be initiated," a Foreign Office spokesman told dpa by phone.

Ambassador Kim Darroch also said the US president radiated "insecurity", in a series of memos, dating from 2017 to the present, that were leaked to the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

Mr Trump criticised Mr Darroch on Sunday.

"The ambassador has not served the UK well. I can tell you that," Mr Trump said of Mr Darroch, prior to departing for Washington, DC from New Jersey. "We're not big fans of that man."

"I can say things about him but I won't bother," Mr Trump added.

Outspoken eurosceptic and Trump supporter Nigel Farage called for Mr Darroch to be sacked.

"Kim Darroch is totally unsuitable for the job and the sooner he is gone the better," Mr Farage tweeted.

He told the newspaper that Mr Darroch was "the wrong person to be the British ambassador" under a Trump administration because he is "globalist in outlook, totally opposed to the Trump doctrine".

 

Mr Darroch's decision to "speculate about Trump's alleged involvement with Russia shows him to be totally unsuitable", said Mr Farage, who leads the new Brexit Party.

Mr Dominic Raab, a leading eurosceptic in Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives and a former Brexit secretary, also criticised Mr Darroch for giving "very personalised judgment" in the memos.

Mr Raab told Sky New that some of the comments "may in retrospect be regarded as unwise".

"But at the end of the day I am sure the two sides will get beyond any of those kind of comments," he said.

Mr Tom Tugendhat, another Conservative lawmaker, told the BBC the leak was "very serious", insisting that diplomats "must be able to communicate securely with their governments".

Mr But Tugendhat defended Mr Darroch's comments, saying an ambassador to Washington must "represent the interests and wishes of the British people", not US "sensibilities".

In an earlier statement, the Foreign Office did not deny the authenticity of the memos, but it also said the British public expected ambassadors "to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their countries".

"Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid, just as the US ambassador here will send back his reading of Westminster politics and personalities," the Foreign Office said.

In one memo from 2017 Mr Darroch said: "As seen from here, we really don't believe that this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional, less unpredictable, less faction-riven, less diplomatically clumsy and inept."

He also advised British officials to flatter Mr Trump, writing: "For a man who has risen to the highest office on the planet, President Trump radiates insecurity."

Despite Mr Trump's characterisation of news stories about infighting in his administration as "fake news", Mr Darroch also said officials should believe them.

"This is a uniquely dysfunctional environment (in the White Houes)," the ambassador wrote.

Nevertheless, Mr Darroch said Mr Trump should not be written off, as he had been mired in scandal for most of his life but got away with it.

"Trump may emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like (Arnold) Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of 'The Terminator,'" he wrote.