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President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Tuesday that he didn't "buy" the tears from Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) at a recent press conference addressing Israel's decision to bar entry to her and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), adding that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats show either "a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

"I can't even believe that we're having this conversation. Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this, even 3 years ago, of cutting off aid to Israel because of 2 people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people. I can't believe we're even having this conversation. Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these 2 people over the state of Israel? I think that any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

Why it matters: 79% of Jewish Americans voted for Democrats in the 2018 midterms, according to Pew Research Center.

Driving the news: Following pressure from President Trump, Reps. Omar and Tlaib were barred by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from visiting Israel last week over their support for the BDS movement, which advocates a boycott of the state of Israel for its government's treatment of Palestinians. Trump publicly encouraged the ban on Twitter, saying that the congresswomen "hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds."

Flashback: Trump told RNC donors in March that "the Democrats hate Jewish people," referring to the controversy over Omar's past comments about Israel.

  • Republicans and some Democrats accused Omar of exploiting an anti-Semitic stereotype that Jewish Americans hold a "dual loyalty" to a foreign country. Omar "unequivocally" apologized for the comments.
  • It's unclear to whom Trump thinks Jewish Americans who vote Democrat are "disloyal" — but his comments have prompted accusations that he's exploiting the same anti-Semitic "dual loyalty" trope that Omar apologized for in February.

Go deeper: Trump builds 2020 support with Republican Jewish Coalition

Go deeper

U.S. ambassador to Russia will return home briefly: State Department

John Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, during a briefing in Moscow in 2015. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The State Department said Monday that the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, will now be returning to the United States this week before returning to Moscow "in the coming weeks."

Why this matters: The statement, from a State Department spokesperson, comes just hours after Axios reported that Sullivan had indicated he intended to stand his ground and stay in Russia after the Kremlin “advised” him to return home to talk with his team.

Scoop: Leaked Ukraine memo reveals scope of Russia's aggression

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits a military exposition in Sevastopol, Crimea, in Jan. 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia has been holding last-minute military exercises near commercial shipping lanes in the Black Sea that threaten to strangle Ukraine's economy, according to an internal document from Ukraine's ministry of defense reviewed by Axios.

Why it matters: With the eyes of the world on the massive buildup of troops in eastern Ukraine, the leaked memo shows Russian forces escalating their presence on all sides of the Ukrainian border.

Read: Former Vice President Walter Mondale's last message

Photo courtesy of Mondale.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale wrote a farewell letter to his staff, sent upon his death on Monday, thanking them for years working together.

Dear Team,

Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!

Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight.

Joe in the White House certainly helps.

I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!

My best to all of you!

Fritz