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In the first White House press briefing in 42 days, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders refused to directly answer whether President Trump believes Democrats hates Jews, following an Axios report that Trump made that comment in a speech to RNC donors this weekend.

NBC's Hallie Jackson: "Yes or no, does the president truly believe that Democrats hate Jews?
Sarah Sanders: "I am not going to comment on a potentially leaked document."
Jackson: "Does he think Democrats hate Jewish people as he said on the South Lawn?"
Sanders: "The president has laid out clearly his position on this matter. Democrats have had a number of opportunities to condemn specific comments and have refused to do that."
...
Jackson: "Does he really believe Democrats hate Jews? I'm just trying to get a sense of that."
Sanders: "I think that's a question you ought to ask the Democrats."

Other highlights:

  • China: Sanders said Trump has not set a date for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago.
  • Personnel: Sanders would not comment on whether Trump would be nominating acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to serve as the Pentagon’s secretary or whether acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's role would become permanent. She also wouldn't comment on the White House's inquiry into Labor Secretary Alex Acosta's role in serial sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's sweetheart plea deal.
  • Paul Manafort: Sanders said Trump would make a decision on whether to pardon former campaign chairman Paul Manafort "when he's ready."

Go deeper

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

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Axios Re:Cap talks with the turkey giant's CEO Jay Jandrain about what people are buying, what they're asking the "Turkey Talkline" and what the pandemic has meant for his business.

Biden introduces top national security team

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Tuesday at an event introducing the incoming administration's top national security officials, where he told the story of his stepfather being the only one of 900 children at his school in Poland to survive the Holocaust.

What they're saying: "At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the woods in Bavaria. From his hiding place, he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank. But instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side a five pointed white star," Blinken said.