Jan 15, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: Here's a phrase President Trump will see on cable, courtesy of his attorney general nominee Bill Barr, who told the Senate today ...

  • "I don't believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt."

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1 big thing: Brexit's extreme scenarios

Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Brexit lost by the worst margin in modern British history today, opening the door to scenarios once seen as outlier at best, Axios World Editor David Lawler notes.

  • Before the vote, Prime Minister Theresa May called it the "most significant that anyone will ever be part of in our political careers."
  • But May was defeated 202 to 432, a margin of 230 votes.
  • The previous record was a margin of 166 votes in 1924.

By the numbers: There's now a 45% chance that one of three previously extreme scenarios — fresh elections (10%), no deal (5%) or a second referendum (30%) — comes to pass, per a new forecast from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

  • Fresh elections: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately tabled a motion of no confidence in May’s government in an effort to force a general election. The conventional wisdom is that members are so fearful of a Prime Minister Corbyn that they’ll back May. But the conventional wisdom has a poor track record when it comes to Brexit.
  • No deal: There’s little appetite in Westminster, or in Brussels, for the U.K. to crash out of the EU without a deal. The economic consequences would be dire. But Brexit Day is just six weeks away, and May says "no deal" is a "very real risk." She’ll almost certainly have to buy time from Brussels in order to avoid it.
  • No Brexit: A second referendum has never looked more likely. A growing chorus says it’s the only logical step, considering no possible deal commands a majority in Parliament. European Council President Donald Tusk joined in today, tweeting: "If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?"

What's next: "Boris Johnson said it was a 'bigger defeat than people have been expecting' — and it meant Mrs May's deal was now 'dead,'" the BBC reports.

  • "But [Johnson] said it gave the prime minister a 'massive mandate to go back to Brussels' to negotiate a better deal, without the controversial Northern Ireland backstop."
Bonus: Pics du jour
Photo: Juan Carlos Lucas/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Above: Thousands of protesters during a feminist demonstration in Spain against the anti-immigrant Vox party, which is supporting a center-right coalition that defeated the traditionally ruling Socialist party in Andalusia, the region in southern Spain that has received the most migrants in recent years.

Below: Signs from the crowd: "Equality! No less, no more."

Photo: Juan Carlos Lucas/NurPhoto via Getty Images
2. What you missed
  1. The world's 2nd-largest Ebola outbreak on record in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is showing no signs of slowing after at least five months, with the number of cases soaring past 600 and the death toll eclipsing 400. Chart.
  2. The EPA hit a 30-year low last year in the number of pollution cases it referred for criminal prosecution. Details.
  3. Netflix is raising prices for all three of its subscription tiers effective today. Go deeper.
  4. Freshman and centrist Democrats rejected an invitation today to negotiate with the White House, despite receiving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s blessing to attend such a meeting. Go deeper.
  5. As Intel's quest for a new CEO passes six months, one name that has been on the company's list but hasn't been previously reported is Apple's Johny Srouji. Read more.
3. 1 fun thing: Footwear to firmware

Nike is selling a $350 smart shoe that needs charging, Bloomberg reports. It's the latest in a trend of smart wearables for data-hungry consumers.

  • "The products carry sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes that can give Nike a full, personalized snapshot of its owner’s performance. They’ll need recharging every two weeks."
  • “It’s the start of a new day. ... It’s like we’re moving from footwear to firmwear," said Michael Donaghu, Nike’s director of global footwear innovation.

Why it matters: The Nike Adapt is the next innovation in footwear on a digital scale, but also brings up questions about data privacy and user protection as they offer another form of wearable technology that tracks its user's every move, Axios' Michael Sykes notes.

Mike Allen