Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

Health care will almost certainly be a central theme in the 2020 elections, after Mr. Trump said Republicans would not produce a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act before then.

Mr. Trump’s reversal followed a warning from Senator Mitch McConnell, who said on Tuesday, “I pointed out to him the Senate Republicans’ view on dealing with comprehensive health care reform with a Democratic House of Representatives.”

Catch up: A previous Republican effort to replace President Barack Obama’s health care law failed in 2017, but Mr. Trump revived the issue last week, promising a Republican replacement after his administration told a federal appeals court that the entire law should be invalidated.

The Daily: Today’s episode is about Mr. Trump’s new approach toward health care.

Yesterday: Mr. Trump acknowledged that closing the border with Mexico, which he threatened to do this week, could damage the U.S. economy, but said security was more important than trade.

Lori Lightfoot, who has never held elective office, easily won Tuesday’s election, and will become the first African-American woman to lead the city. When she takes office in May, she’ll also be Chicago’s first openly gay mayor.

Ms. Lightfoot, a 56-year-old former federal prosecutor, ran as an outsider in a city that has often turned to political insiders. She will succeed Rahm Emanuel, who has led Chicago for the past eight years.

Watch: Our video offers more details about Ms. Lightfoot, who has held appointed positions. Those included leading a task force that issued a scathing report on relations between the Chicago police and black residents.

Prime Minister Theresa May broke with her own party on Tuesday and appealed to the opposition Labour Party to work on a plan for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

With Parliament deadlocked on the issue and alarm growing about a possible departure without a deal in place, Mrs. May also said she would ask Brussels for an extension to the April 12 deadline.

What’s next: Mrs. May’s immediate plan is to try to reach an agreement with the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and get Parliament’s support for it before an E.U. meeting next week. Whether she could do that — and whether the bloc would approve another delay — remained unclear.

The details: Hard-line members of Mrs. May’s Conservative Party have shrugged off warnings of severe economic consequences from a no-deal exit. Here’s what it might look like.

For more than three decades, the findings from an exploratory well in Alaska have been one of the oil industry’s most closely guarded secrets. Was it a dry hole or a potential gusher?

Interested parties want to know as the Trump administration prepares to sell drilling leases in the area, which has long been believed to contain North America’s biggest untapped onshore trove of oil.

The Times found answers 4,000 miles away, in a Cleveland courthouse, where a lawsuit contained hints that the findings were disappointing. A lawyer who was involved in the case told our reporters: “The discovery well was worthless.”

Why it matters: One dry hole doesn’t mean there’s no oil, but discouraging results could embolden opponents of drilling and prompt second thoughts among potential lease bidders.

There’s no single explanation for the wave of right-wing populism across the world. But Rupert Murdoch’s empire has done more than any other media company to enable it, promote it and profit from it.

Our three-part investigation describes the Murdoch family’s role in destabilizing democracy in North America, Europe and Australia. The product of six months of digging, the report shows how two major stories of our times — one of nativist forces, the other of the Murdoch dynasty — are really one.

Snapshot: Above, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, when he became the second player in N.B.A. history to have at least 20 points, 20 rebounds and 20 assists in a game. Wilt Chamberlain did it in 1968.

Late-night comedy: Stephen Colbert addressed Republicans’ health care plans: “Remember ‘repeal and replace’? ‘We’re going to repeal and replace’? Well, after nine years, they still haven’t gotten around to the ‘replace’ part.”

What we’re reading: This piece in The Los Angeles Times. Sam Sifton, our food editor, and Pete Wells, our restaurant critic, appreciated how Lucas Kwan Peterson’s prank report on New York needled our coverage of his city’s restaurant scene.

Cook: A midweek pasta dinner combines roasted broccoli, almonds and anchovies.

Go: Heidi Schreck’s “What the Constitution Means to Me” is a chronicle of the legal subjugation of women. Our critic called it “not just the best play to open on Broadway so far this season, but also the most important.”

Watch: The director John Lee Hancock narrates a sequence from “The Highwaymen,” featuring Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner as Texas Rangers coming out of retirement to hunt Bonnie and Clyde.

Eat: The last time Rocco DiSpirito led a restaurant kitchen, George W. Bush was president. Now he’s in charge at the Standard Grill in Manhattan, and our critic Pete Wells was impressed.

Smarter Living: Your phone can help you limit your screen time. On iPhones, look for Screen Time in settings, and on Android phones, look for Digital Wellbeing. Both let you limit app use, and warn you when time is up.

The Pilot is the product of local newspaper mergers that began just after the Civil War. It first published under its current name in 1898, and was acquired by Tronc, the former Tribune Co., in 2018. (The company has since changed its name to Tribune Publishing.) Based in southeastern Virginia, The Pilot’s coverage bleeds into North Carolina.

The Pilot earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for an editorial on the evils of lynching; another in 1960 for editorials on officials’ stonewalling of school integration; and a third in 1985 for reporting on local corruption.

Last year, The Pilot was a finalist for the Pulitzer in investigative reporting, for documenting injustices in Virginia’s parole system. Who knows what 2019 might bring?

Lastly, leggings. Yea or nay? Our fashion critic weighs in after the latest uproar involving the garment.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and James K. Williamson for the break from the news. James also wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about President Trump’s shifting stance on replacing Obamacare.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Clear the chalkboard (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times won second place among national news organizations in the annual headline contest administered by ACES: The Society for Editing. Congratulations to NPR, which won first place.

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