Sir Kim Darroch, the British Ambassador to the US, used secret cables and briefing notes to warn the UK government that Trump’s “career could end in disgrace,” and described conflicts within the White House as “knife fights,” according to the Daily Mail.
A UK government source tells CNN the memos described in the Daily Mail story are “real.”
The Daily Mail says the memos span the period between 2017 to present day, covering everything from Trump’s foreign policy to his 2020 reelection plans.
The White House told CNN they have no comment on the story.
“The British public would expect our Ambassadors to provide Ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country. 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,” a statement from the British FCO said.
“Of course we would expect such advice to be handled by Ministers and civil servants in the right way and it’s important that our Ambassadors can offer their advice and for it remain confidential. Our team in Washington have strong relations with the White House and no doubt that these will withstand such mischievous behaviour,” the statement continued.
The leaked cables come at a sensitive time in UK politics with Conservative Party members currently electing a new Prime Minister to succeed Theresa May, who was effectively toppled by her own members of Parliament for failing to deliver on her country’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union.
The favorite for the job, Boris Johnson, is seen likely to seek to forge a much closer relationship to Trump than May, who made strenuous efforts to court the President and developed a respectful relationship but never really bonded with him politically. If it leaves the EU, Britain will be seeking to seal a bilateral trade deal with the US and Trump is expected to drive a hard bargain. So there will be speculation that the leak of Darroch’s memos was a politically motivated act by someone in London to clear space in Washington for an outspokenly pro-Brexit ambassador.
Darroch also used to work as national security adviser to Former British Prime Minister David Cameron and as a top UK representative to the EU, so although he’s a career diplomat, he is not seen as philosophically aligned with the crowd of hardcore Brexiteers expected to take over 10 Downing Street.
Johnson is unpredictable, politically incorrect, a populist and deeply critical of the EU and is often accused of blurring facts — traits which he shares with Trump.
Darroch had been riding high on the success of Trump’s trip to the UK in June which largely went off without a hitch. His position with the Trump administration however now looks difficult at best. Though his memos are deeply sensitive given the source, the unflattering depiction of the Trump White House is one that will be recognizable to readers of US media outlets.
This story has been updated.