'Start Here': 'The Squad' responds to Trump, Epstein faces alleged victims, a Vatican mystery

Here's what you need to know to start your day.

It's Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Let's start here.

1. 'If they want to leave, they can leave'

President Donald Trump doubled down on his attacks on four minority Democratic congresswomen on Monday, denying that it was racist to tell them to "go back” to where they came from, despite the fact they're all, obviously, American citizens, and three of them were born in the U.S.

"All they do is complain," he told reporters at the White House. "So all I'm saying is, if they want to leave, they can leave."

Democrats put up a united front, blasting Trump's remarks, as the progressive "Squad" made up of Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held a joint news conference Tuesday telling Americans his "bigoted" attacks are a "distraction."

A few Republicans criticized the attacks, including Sen. Tim Scott, the lone African American Republican in the Senate, but many GOP members tried to dodge addressing the controversy altogether, according to ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega.

"For all intents and purposes, these tweets were racist, and has put his party in a very uncomfortable position," she says on "Start Here."

2. Epstein faces alleged victims

A federal judge on Monday said he'd decide whether to grant bail to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein at a court hearing later this week.

Epstein, who's pleaded not guilty to federal sex-trafficking charges, came face to face with two alleged victims during his detention hearing, both of whom spoke in support of keeping him locked up.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky tells "Start Here" that after witnessing the judge's pointed questioning, "If you were reading tea leaves, you would be hard pressed to think that Jeffrey Epstein is going to be free on bail."

3. Vatican mystery

There's a new twist in the case of a 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee who disappeared in Rome nearly four decades ago.

Last week, investigators acted on an anonymous tip that said Emanuela Orlandi's remains were buried in a Vatican cemetery "where an angel was pointing," in the tombs of two 19th century German princesses, but the grave was empty, adding to the mystery.

Vatican officials then expanded their investigation over the weekend, discovering two sets of remains under a stone slab. The area has been sealed off until investigators can determine later this week whether the remains belong to Orlandi, the princesses or someone else entirely.

It's not the first time Orlandi's family has pursued a lead into her disappearance, ABC News Senior Foreign Correspondent Ian Pannell tells us.

"The family have been put through this a few times," Pannell adds. "They say they're getting used to it in some senses, tragically, but of course they still want answers."

"Start Here," ABC News' flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


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From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

Politics Podcast: Trump's racist tweets: In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the team discusses the context of Trump's tweets and how Americans are likely to react.

Doff your cap:

In "The Lion King: Can You Feel The Love Tonight with Robin Roberts," which airs tonight at 8 ET on ABC, the stars and creative minds behind the highly anticipated photo realistic version of "The Lion King" shared their fondest memories from the Disney classic and the musical moments they're most excited to see enjoyed by a new generation of fans.

Donald Glover, who voices Simba, said he vividly remembered the first time he encountered the original "Lion King," when he was in fourth grade. He called it a "pivotal moment" when he saw the trailer for the 1994 film.

"I remember that super well because I don't think anybody's done a trailer like that, since, really, where it's, like, no words," he said. "It's just music and stuff, and then it says, '"Lion King" coming soon.' You're like, 'Who's "Lion King?" I want to meet him.'"

Even now, the Grammy-winning singer said, "I remember how influential it was on me."

"I remember watching on the home videos, the behind the scenes — the kid singers and stuff. I started writing my own songs," Glover added. "I remember being like, 'You can be that young and do that.'"

See more from the filmmakers and the star-studded cast in "The Lion King: Can You Feel The Love Tonight with Robin Roberts" tonight at 8 ET on ABC.