July 14, 2017 Last Updated 8:14 am

Here comes the flood (literally); Sun-Times to move to West Loop, gains video production studio

Morning Brief: Many Americans ask why isn’t there a second Brexit vote? Polls show that Remain might win, but Leave supporters are still not convinced Brexit will be a disaster

This has not been the best of weeks here at TNM as major storms rushed through the Chicago area and flooded my office. All week I’ve worked with the smell of wet carpet and giant fans blowing in hopes of drying out the place.

Lake County Flood

And, as is the norm in mid-summer, the news coming from publishing companies has been slow, except for the recent announcement that the Chicago Sun-Times has found a new owner, and will be moving staff to the same building that houses Answers Media, a video production company. The two companies will be merged together, giving the Sun-Times some video production capability (it will be interesting to see what they do with it).

Meanwhile, we wait for Q2 earnings reports which are still a couple weeks away for most media companies and the big techs (Apple reports on August 1).

The big show remains Brexit in the UK, and the ongoing Trump show. But what will be settled more immediately will the fate of the Senate GOP’s new health care bill. In order to pass, Senate Republicans must secure the votes of all their members but two, and so far two have announced that they are against the bill. But as some reporters have already said they would vote No, but no others have announced a firm “No” so there looks to be at least a 50-50 chance that the bill could actually pass, despite its unpopularity with the public.

The New York Times, Editorial:

A Scary New Senate Health Care Bill

On Thursday, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, produced revised legislation that could effectively make it impossible for many people with pre-existing medical conditions to afford the treatment they need. Even people who are healthy now could find themselves unable to pay for comprehensive health insurance when they become sick. In addition, the bill still includes drastic cuts to Medicaid, which provides care to about 70 million people. In essence, the Senate leader just swatted away the concerns of Republican senators and governors who questioned those cuts…

…The biggest losers in the new bill are the sick. A provision by Mr. Cruz would let insurers discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. And they would be allowed to sell plans that do not cover essential services, which would be cheaper and attract healthier people. They would still have to offer comprehensive plans to everyone, but those policies would cost a lot more because they would attract sicker patients.

The latest revelation in the ongoing Trump-Russia story came this morning when NBC News reported that in addition to Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, representing the Trump campaign, and lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, another person attended the June meeting in Trump Tower — an unnamed former Soviet counter intelligence officer.

NBC News does not say why they are not naming the person, but the person has been contacted by Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer, and one presumes will be soon talking to investigators.

One detail that I find interesting is that Congressional intelligence committee members said they were aware first informed of this meeting in April, three months before the NYT reported the meeting.

Trump Tower

NBC News, Ken Dilanian, Natasha Lebedeva and Hallie Jackson:

Former Soviet Counter Intelligence Officer at Meeting With Donald Trump Jr. and Russian Lawyer

The Russian lawyer who met with the Trump team after a promise of compromising material on Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist — a former Soviet counter intelligence officer who is suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, NBC News has learned.

NBC News is not naming the lobbyist, who denies any current ties to Russian spy agencies. He accompanied the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

The Russian-born American lobbyist served in the Soviet military and emigrated to the U.S., where he holds dual citizenship.

Trump’s approval ratings has edged up to 40 percent in the latest Gallup poll, but 55 percent remain unhappy with the new president, a reflection that the public quickly changed their opinion following the November vote.

In the UK, on the other hand, a recent poll concerning Brexit shows a large portion of the public still say they would vote to leave the EU (46 percent). It is this fact that is the answer to the question many Americans have about Brexit: Why isn’t there another vote on the matter?

True, the same poll shows that Remain would edge out Leave in a new plebiscite, but not by such a wide margin that there are loud calls for a new vote. Still, some continue to present the idea as a possibility.

Bloomberg, Simon Kennedy and John Fraher:

Balance of Power: A Second Brexit Referendum?

One of the most frequently asked questions in London over the past year has been whether Brexit can be avoided, perhaps by holding a second referendum.

…True, Corbyn has said over and over again that he “respects the EU referendum result” and he can’t ignore his party’s working-class base, which largely voted for Brexit…

…Corbyn might then be tempted to finally side with the Liberal Democrats, a smaller opposition party, to push for another vote.

For the moment, polls show few regrets about the referendum decision. But things are in flux in Parliament and across the country.

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