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We start today with President Trump’s address to the nation, a revelation about Paul Manafort and our Travel section’s list of 52 Places to Go this year.
President Trump escalates the fight over a border wall
In his first prime-time address from the Oval Office, Mr. Trump sought on Tuesday to cast the situation at the Mexican border as a “humanitarian crisis,” raising the stakes in a dispute that has led to a partial government shutdown.
The president’s direct appeal to the American people, and his planned trip to the border on Thursday, are meant to pressure Congress to approve $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. Yet Mr. Trump privately acknowledged earlier Tuesday that the speech would change little.
Democratic leaders then gave their own televised address, criticizing the president for asking taxpayers to pay for a wall he had long said Mexico would fund.
How regular Americans see the shutdown
President Trump’s speech on Tuesday painted a bleak picture of life along the border, an area prowled by “vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs.”
Before the address, The Times sent correspondents to the Mexican side of the border and to the four states on the U.S. side — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — and found few who shared the president’s sense of alarm.
Paul Manafort is accused of giving data to a Russian
President Trump’s former campaign manager shared polling data during the 2016 presidential campaign with an associate tied to Russian intelligence, according to a court filing unsealed on Tuesday.
It’s the clearest evidence to date that the Trump campaign may have tried to coordinate with Russians.
The details: Mr. Manafort’s lawyers apparently made the disclosure by accident while responding to charges that he had lied to prosecutors working for the special counsel. The document also revealed that Mr. Manafort “may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan” with the associate “on more than one occasion.”
Another angle: Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower in 2016, was charged in New York in a separate case that showed her deep ties to the Kremlin.
China budges on tariffs. Will the U.S. budge back?
Beijing has made a number of trade concessions in the hopes that President Trump will end the trade war.
Last month, China dropped retaliatory measures on American-made cars and started buying U.S. soybeans again. It has also vowed to end corporate espionage and to allow foreign investors into more industries.
But the Trump administration is worried that China won’t follow through on its promises.
What’s next: Three days of trade talks ended today in Beijing. The two sides hope to finish a deal before March 2, when higher American tariffs are set to kick in.
If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it
Older women grow in numbers and clout
There are more women over 50 in the U.S. than ever before, according to Census Bureau data. And they are healthier, working longer and have more income.
Our gender editor, Jessica Bennett, looks at the power those women wield. To name names (and ages): In Congress, Donna Shalala, above, 77; Maxine Waters, 80; Nancy Pelosi, 78. Elsewhere, Susan Zirinsky, 66, will take over CBS News in March, and Glenn Close, 71, just won a Golden Globe for best actress.
Here’s what else is happening
Turkey snubs John Bolton: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to meet the U.S. national security adviser on Tuesday, saying he had made a “grave mistake” in demanding that Turkey protect America’s Kurdish allies in Syria.
Free to vote again: As many as 1.5 million former felons in Florida have had their voting rights restored, as a ballot measure approved in November went into effect.
Jazmine Barnes killing: The main suspect in the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl from the Houston area has been charged with capital murder. Another man has been charged in the case.
Mario Batali accusations: Three sexual assault investigations against the celebrity chef have been closed because of a lack of evidence.
Refugee status granted: An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family and flew to Thailand was granted refugee status today, clearing the way for an asylum request. Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun said she feared her family would kill her if she were forced to return to Saudi Arabia.
Snapshot: Above, a competitor on Tuesday in the second stage of the Dakar Rally in Peru, from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona. The annual race started in 1979 and initially went from Paris to Dakar, Senegal, but it was moved to South America in 2009 because of security concerns.
In memoriam: Bernice Sandler, known as “the godmother of Title IX,” was the driving force behind the creation of the civil rights law of 1972 that barred sex discrimination by educational institutions that received federal funding. She died on Saturday at 90.
52 Places to Go: Our Travel section has released its annual list of destinations to try in 2019. At No. 1: Puerto Rico, which is bouncing back from Hurricane Maria with the help of performances of “Hamilton,” with Lin-Manuel Miranda reprising his lead role. Also, meet the person who will visit all 52 places for The Times this year.
Late-night comedy: Trevor Noah joked about the possibility that President Trump could declare a national emergency over border security. “If I’m the Democrats, I would just give Trump the wall before he finds out what he can really do.”
What we’re reading: This meme roundup from Townhall. “The internet exploded with posts last night about the response Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer made to President Trump’s speech,” writes our briefings editor, Andrea Kannapell. “Curated collections followed rapidly. This struck me as one of the most discriminating.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Smoky bacon, red cabbage and a bit of cream make for a delicious pasta dinner.
Watch: The final season of “You’re the Worst,” which starts tonight on FXX. Will the terrible twosome find anything resembling happiness together?
Go: The Public Theater’s annual Under the Radar festival features experimental theater pieces. If you’re in New York, here are our critics’ suggestions for what’s worth your time.
Smarter Living: 5G is short for “fifth-generation wireless technology.” The essentials: It will make smartphones faster, most likely bringing big changes to video games, sports and shopping. But all kinds of devices that share data — like robots, security cameras, drones and cars — will be affected.
We also have tips on maintaining a stock portfolio in retirement when markets face volatility.
And now for the Back Story on …
The Times and leaks
How does The Times decide when to publish leaked information?
First, sharing government secrets is generally legal. One exception, per the Espionage Act, is information related to national defense that could be used to harm the U.S. And some things, like nuclear secrets, are separately protected.
The Supreme Court has upheld the news media’s right to publish government secrets, citing the First Amendment. The landmark 1971 Pentagon Papers ruling struck down an attempt by the Nixon administration to keep The Times from publishing classified information about the Vietnam War.
Still, as our Washington correspondent Charlie Savage notes in our series Understanding The Times, we don’t always exercise that right. Sometimes officials ask us to “consider voluntarily not publishing.”
Because “suppressing information is not something The Times takes lightly,” Mr. Savage explains, those decisions are handled by our most senior editorial leadership.
“It is extremely rare,” he adds, “for The Times to hold or kill such a story.”
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Eleanor Stanford for returning to the culture beat and to James K. Williamson for taking up the Smarter Living beat. Jennifer Krauss and Blake Wilson helped with today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is on President Trump’s speech.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: Savory taste imparted by MSG (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times Washington bureau chief is Elisabeth Bumiller, who previously covered the Pentagon and City Hall in New York, among many other things.