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On Politics: Bolton Puts Conditions on a Syria Withdrawal

Good Monday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today.

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President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, appeared to roll back Mr. Trump’s decision to rapidly withdraw from Syria, laying out conditions for a pullout that could leave American forces there for months or even years. Read about the conditions.

Mr. Trump’s evolving definition of a border wall was central to negotiations over the government shutdown on Sunday, as he told reporters he was fine with a “steel barrier.” House Democrats moved to increase pressure on the president by vowing to pass individual bills to reopen certain departments that handle critical functions. Read about the discussions.

The Trump administration has adopted several strategies to deter migrants and persuade them to turn around — or not to come at all. Its latest effort is a policy that admits only a few asylum seekers a day at border crossings. As a result, migrants are now waiting on the Mexican side of the border for weeks and months.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is in the final stages of deciding whether to run for president and has told allies he is skeptical that the other Democrats considering a White House bid can defeat Mr. Trump. But his allies say Mr. Biden’s decision will not be final until he says it for himself.

Freshman Democrats elected on promises of bold action appear determined to push the party to the left. Some more experienced lawmakers fear they could divide the party and empower Republicans. Read the story.

Regardless of whether a woman wins the Democratic nomination in 2020, the presence of new female faces in the race could help the party move past a set of political expectations for women largely defined by Hillary Clinton for several decades. Read the story.

Mr. Trump is cheerleading his way past the economic warning signs that have rattled financial markets and unnerved economists, insisting that the United States has an advantage in a crucial first round of trade negotiations beginning on Monday in Beijing. Read why.

The Trump administration has warned scientists doing biomedical research at American universities that they may be targets of Chinese spies trying to steal and exploit information from their laboratories. Read the story.

An American airstrike in Yemen last week killed one of the suspected plotters of the deadly Qaeda bombing of the United States Navy destroyer Cole in 2000, Mr. Trump and military officials confirmed on Sunday. Read the story.

Rear Adm. Kevin M. Sweeney resigned as chief of staff to the United States secretary of defense, a move that came soon after Jim Mattis’s departure in December. Read about the latest departure from the Trump administration.

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Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Noah Weiland in Washington.

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Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.


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