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Good morning,

We start today with a breakdown in border security talks, possible impeachment proceedings in Virginia, and the winners of last night’s Grammy Awards.

Efforts to reach a border security deal bogged down on Sunday, less than a week before parts of the federal government are again set to run out of money.

The details: The breakdown appears to center on Democratic demands for a limit on the number of unauthorized immigrants already in the U.S. who could be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. That could force the Trump administration to focus on immigrants with criminal records, rather than on broader sweeps.

Looking ahead: President Trump is scheduled to hold a rally tonight in El Paso to build support for his proposed border wall. Officials in the West Texas city dispute the president’s assertion that border fencing has reduced violent crime there.

Related: Gov. Gavin Newsom of California is expected to withdraw nearly 400 of his state’s National Guard troops from the border with Mexico today.


One of Robert Mueller’s prosecutors suggested last week that the special counsel investigation was focusing on Trump campaign officials’ response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and to American sanctions on Moscow.

According to a transcript of a hearing in Washington, the prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, discussed contacts between President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a Russian associate. Mr. Mueller’s team says that Mr. Manafort misled them about those discussions, and when pressed by the judge about why it mattered, Mr. Weissmann said, “This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating.”

Background: Prosecutions by the special counsel have skirted the question of whether there was some kind of deal between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign. Persuading the U.S. to ease or end sanctions has been a primary goal of Moscow. Mr. Trump has dismissed Mr. Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt.”


A draft resolution sent to a state House committee on Sunday directs lawmakers to determine whether the sexual assault accusations facing Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax constitute grounds for impeachment.

Mr. Fairfax has denied accusations from two women and released a statement over the weekend calling for an investigation and “due process.”

Some Democrats are wary of impeaching Mr. Fairfax, who is black, without taking action against the governor and attorney general, who are white and have resisted calls to step down after acknowledging wearing blackface in the 1980s.

Go deeper: Gov. Ralph Northam’s early life on the Eastern Shore of Virginia helped shape his views on race.

Reaction: According to a poll conducted for The Times, one in five American adults has seen someone wear blackface. Far fewer said they had worn blackface themselves.


The government in Tehran collapsed on Feb. 11, 1979, after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had helped inspire the uprising, returned from exile.

The country has changed enormously in the four decades since, as a growing middle class has quietly rebelled against the rigid ideology of the revolution’s early years.

Our correspondent in Tehran takes us inside a society where divisions between the private and the public have broken down.

Looking ahead: The Trump administration has been pressuring Iraq to stop buying energy from Iran, raising tensions between Washington and Baghdad.

Snapshot: Above, Lindsey Vonn finished third on Sunday in the final race of her career, in Sweden. The 34-year-old American skier won an unprecedented 20 season-long World Cup discipline and overall titles from 2008 to 2016, as well as three Olympic medals. We selected photographs from her career.

Cook: Transform cauliflower into a weeknight vegan curry. (Our Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter has more recipe recommendations.)

Go: San Juan, the Puerto Rican capital, offers lovely beaches, energetic night life and gregarious island charm.

Watch: Albert Finney, the distinguished British thespian and five-time Oscar nominee, died last week. Stream some of his best performances at home.

Listen: Ariana Grande’s latest single is “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored,” a satisfying thumper with an astral-trap beat, Jon Caramanica writes.


Smarter Living: If you have a chance to spoil yourself, try spending to enhance where you spend the most time. A cruise can be wonderful, but a great mattress or a comfortable pillow offers six to eight hours of pampering every night.

In Jackson’s 1988 autobiography, which shares its name with the famous move, he describes the moonwalk as “a ‘popping’ type of thing that black kids had created dancing on street corners in the ghetto.”

The moonwalk had been performed for decades by a range of entertainers (albeit often by a more literal name, the backslide). But it was the King of Pop who would be remembered, as one dance critic put it, “coasting backward across the stage, step by gliding step, as if on a cushion of air.”


That’s it for this briefing.

Since the Westminster Dog Show begins tonight in New York, we combed through The Times’s photo archives and found dogs that were stars long before Instagram.

See you next time.

— Chris


Thank you
To Eleanor Stanford, James K. Williamson and John Dorman for the break from the news. Chris Stanford went overtime to write today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, who is preventing millions of dollars’ worth of aid from entering the country.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: The “turf” part of “surf and turf” (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
The Times announced its inaugural class of newsroom fellows last week. Twenty-two were selected from more than 5,000 applicants.



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