Britain to investigate leak of ambassador's comments on Trump

LONDON, dpa correspondents (dpa)- The British government on Sunday 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.

Outspoken eurosceptic and Trump supporter Nigel Farage called for Darroch to be sacked.
"Kim Darroch is totally unsuitable for the job and the sooner he is gone the better," Farage tweeted.
He told the newspaper that 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."
Darroch's decision to "speculate about Trump's alleged involvement with Russia shows him to be totally unsuitable," said Farage, who leads the new Brexit Party.
Dominic Raab, a leading eurosceptic in Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives and a former Brexit secretary, also criticized Darroch for giving "very personalized judgement" in the memos.
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.
Tom Tugendhat, another Conservative lawmaker, told the BBC the leak was "very serious," insiting that diplomats "must be able to communicate securely with their governments."
But Tugendhat defended 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 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 Trump, writing: "For a man who has risen to the highest office on the planet, President Trump radiates insecurity."
Despite Trump's characterization of news stories about infighting in his administration as "fake news," Darroch also said officials should believe them.
"This is a uniquely dysfunctional environment [in the White Houes]," the ambassador wrote.
Nevertheless, Darroch said 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.

Sunday, July 7th 2019
dpa correspondents (dpa)

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