Reports in the British media suggest that the recent visit by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to the US to meet with Donald Trump’s team did not go well.
Johnson was sent to the US by a seriously concerned British government, which is clearly alarmed at the potential risk to Britain’s long standing alliance with the US caused by the use Donald Trump’s political enemies in the US are making of the Trump Dossier, which was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer.
Prime Minister Theresa May has gone out her way to make clear that the British government had nothing to do with the creation of the Trump Dossier. Breaking with a long established British government precedent to make no comment about intelligence questions, she is reported to have said
It’s a long-standing position that we don’t comment on such matters, but I think from everything that you will have seen it is absolutely clear that the individual who produced this dossier has not worked for the UK Government for years.
I should say in passing that this is also my view. I do not know what influence Christopher Steele’s apparently strongly hostile views towards Russia may have had on decision makers in London. However I simply do not believe that the British government or British intelligence could have had any role in compiling such an obviously fake document as the Trump Dossier.
The trouble is that it seems that the people around Trump are not convinced. The London Times is reporting that Johnson’s meeting with people close to Trump did not go well, and that they were not convinced by him
A Foreign Office source said Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, had been briefed on the contents of Steele’s dossier before travelling to New York and Washington last week to meet Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, senior advisers to Trump.
A source who has discussed the talks with Trump’s team said Johnson’s insistence on warning about Russian “dirty tricks” was not welcomed by Bannon and Kushner: “The meeting didn’t go well. They were not very impressed.”
That Trump’s team – especially hard men like Bannon and Kushner – are suspicious of the British is completely unsurprising.
I discussed recently how much of the Russophobic “fake news” which has been used to cause damage to Donald Trump seems to have originated in Britain, whose neo-liberal establishment has been united in despising both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
It would not therefore be surprising if people like Bannon and Kushner might have come to think that the country which has been interfering in US politics is not Russia but Britain, and that it has been doing so not on Trump’s behalf but against him.
If that is indeed what some people around Donald Trump think then the British are going to have to work very hard in the weeks and months ahead to repair the damage to prevent Britain being left out in the cold.