Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Polls suggest Americans consider the U.K. to be their country's closest ally, a distinction prized by a succession of British leaders and supported by decades of shared history and close cooperation.

Why it matters: President Trump has reveled in Brexit Britain’s rejection of multilateralism, in general, and the EU, in particular. But the U.K.'s voice will now count for less in Brussels and Berlin, and likely in Washington as a result.

Driving the news: The post-Brexit era is off to an inauspicious start for the "special relationship." Shortly after Brexit was sealed, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that China’s Huawei would be allowed a role in building out the U.K.’s 5G networks — over vehement objections from Washington.

  • Trump berated Johnson on a call after that announcement, according to the FT.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had made abundantly clear that to choose Huawei was to reject America and put intelligence sharing — a crucial aspect of the relationship — at risk.
  • Pompeo was more measured in a recent appearance with his U.K. counterpart, but he described Huawei as an extension of “the central threat of our time" — the Chinese Communist Party.
  • The U.K. is far less anxious to pick fights with China. Officials also insist Huawei's role will be limited and that there was no clear alternative.

Peter Westmacott, a former U.K. ambassador to Washington, recalls similar incidents from the Reagan-Thatcher period and his own time in Washington.

  • He says those rare rifts — over the U.K.’s 2015 decision to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, for example — generated emotion and headlines, but faded without lasting damage to the relationship.
  • Those disputes played out in private, or else in terse statements. Trump publicly questioned Theresa May's handling of Brexit and backed Johnson to take her job.
  • Three years in, Westmacott says, "it’s almost like, 'a little row with Trump — what’s new?'"

There could be more squabbles to come over the U.K.'s planned digital services tax — the Trump administration has promised swift repercussions — and negotiations over a much-heralded U.S.-U.K. trade deal.

  • Johnson says he'll negotiate that "massive" deal in parallel with a much bigger one, with the EU.
  • The difficulties of doing so are increasingly clear, not least because giving Trump the concessions he's sure to demand — on food standards, for example — will mean adding barriers with the EU, to which 45% of Britain's exports flow.
  • "The heart may say America," emails Peter Foster, the Telegraph's Europe editor. "The head, when the numbers are crunched, says the opposite.

That could well be the case beyond trade. On many of the most pressing issues of the day — climate and Iran, not to mention Huawei — the U.K. is much closer to France or Germany than to America.

The bottom line: After Brexit, the U.K. will clearly no longer serve as Washington's unofficial envoy within the EU. It will have to pick sides as key decisions arise, and avoid getting squeezed between them.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,362,341 — Total deaths: 1,001,800 — Total recoveries: 23,153,572Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,149,073 — Total deaths: 205,069 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Business: Companies are still holding back earnings guidance.
  4. Health: Trump announces plan to distribute 150 million rapid tests —The childless vaccine.
  5. Media: Fauci: Some of what Fox News reports about COVID-19 is "outlandish"
  6. States: Cuomo extends New York moratorium on evictions until 2021.
  7. World: More than 1 million people have now died from coronavirus — India the second country after U.S. to hit 6 million cases.

Kentucky attorney general to release Breonna Taylor jury deliberations

Attorney Ben Crump places his hands on the shoulders Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother, near a mural of her daughter at Jefferson Square Park on Sept. 25 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Grand jury proceedings in the case of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman fatally shot by police, will be released on Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron confirmed to news outlets.

Driving the news: Cameron's announcement late Monday came hours after a judge granted an unnamed juror's court motion seeking the release of last week's transcripts and related recordings.

Bob Woodward: "I was not going to hide" my opinion on Trump

Bob Woodward didn't want to join Senate Republicans in privately condemning President Trump but declining to do so publicly, he told Jonathan Swan in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Woodward has covered 9 presidents, but Trump is the first that Woodward explicitly described as "the wrong man for the job."

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!