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The cynic in me thinks that the former US administration recognized how devastating Brexit would be to the British economy and encouraged it in order to make negotiations of a benefitial binational treaty more likely.

Actually, cynicism is not required here (although it helps). Both US and Russia governments have a long history of trying to split the EU in order to more easily impose their interests on individual countries.

Brexit is a good example... Russia is strongly suspected to have meddled in the referendum process however the UK government never commissioned a study, despite being urged by its own intelligence services. The US appears interested in a trade deal with Britain only if it can force delicacies like US chlorinated chicken and US health care providers down the Brits' throat.

Is this attitude going to change suddenly because of a new administration? From the earlier article:

... In a further blow to the government’s idea of “global Britain” after Brexit, the chances of signing a swift UK/US trade deal also appeared to be ebbing away after President[]’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, made clear the president had other more pressing domestic economic priorities than international trade deals. ...
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