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George Clooney leaves Venice Film Festival by boat (Ettore Ferrari / ANSA via AP)

We told you Friday that 2020 hopefuls are beginning to put out feelers to potential staff and donors. The N.Y. Times' Ken Vogel and Rachel Shorey find a clear "shadow campaign," although the players remain coy:

  • "Aides to Senator Kamala Harris of California say that her fund-raisers in Martha's Vineyard and the Hamptons this summer have been all about helping Democrats in 2018. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s allies say his new political group is building an email list so he can communicate directly with his supporters about the future of the party and the country. And Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio says he has been traveling to Iowa and New Hampshire in part because 'I like being out around the country.'"

Two potential candidates who are being closely watched in both parties:

  • George Clooney says at the Venice Film Festival that "Suburbicon" — a satirical film noir he directed, starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore — is an angry movie for an angry U.S.: "A lot of us are angry — angry at ourselves, angry at the way that the country is going, angry at the way the world is going." (AP)
  • The Boston Globe front-pages a feature on religion as a "constant part of Elizabeth Warren's life": "Warren ... doesn't have a home church she regularly attends, but she frequently visits a variety of houses of worship — including many African-American churches — around the state."

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

6 hours ago - World

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.