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Former Texas congressmen Beto O'Rourke announced he has joined the 2020 presidential election on Thursday, joining a crowded pool of candidates who are seeking out the Democratic nomination, the AP reports.

Why it matters: Beto was unknown outside of Texas until his race against Ted Cruz put him on the national stage. If he ends up winning, AP writes that he "would be the first U.S. politician to do so since Abraham Lincoln lost his Senate bid to Stephen Douglas in Illinois in 1858, then was elected president two years later."

"The challenges that we face right now ... They will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America," he announced Thursday morning.

Beto O'Rourke previewed his candidacy with an Annie Leibovitz cover of Vanity Fair.

  • The 17-page spread in the April issue hits newsstands March 28, giving Editor Radhika Jones a massive news driver.

Joe Hagan, who wrote the cover story, tweets that he spent two months reporting this story before ever meeting Beto, starting last December:

  • "I convinced Beto O'Rourke to do this cover story after walking up to his house and introducing myself one Sunday afternoon. He was lounging on the front veranda, barefoot in blue jeans and T-shirt, talking on his cell phone."

Hagan captures O'Rourke's "radical openness":

Beto O’Rourke seems like a cliff diver trying to psych himself into the jump. And after playing coy all afternoon about whether he’ll run, he finally can’t deny the pull of his own gifts. "You can probably tell that I want to run," he finally confides, smiling. "I do. I think I’d be good at it." ...
The more he talks, the more he likes the sound of what he’s saying. "I want to be in it," he says, now leaning forward. "Man, I’m just born to be in it, and want to do everything I humanly can for this country at this moment."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Trudeau's Liberals set to form minority government after Canada election win

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government was reelected for a third term in Monday's parliamentary elections, but preliminary results show it failed to win a majority.

Why it matters: Trudeau has governed Canada with a minority of legislative support in parliament for the past two years. Last month, he called for an election two years earlier than scheduled in the hope of forming a majority government.

DOJ urges Supreme Court not to overturn Roe v Wade

Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Sept. 9 news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice sought permission Monday to present oral arguments when the Supreme Court hears a case challenging Mississippi's strict abortion law, as it called on justices to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The two briefs, filed by acting solicitor general Brian Fletcher, mark the latest attempt by President Biden's DOJ to "protect the legal right to an abortion," per the New York Times, which first reported on the court filings.

4 hours ago - World

Reports: CIA director's team member reported Havana Syndrome symptoms

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Bill Burns during a House Intelligence Committee hearing in April on Capitol Hill. Photo: Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

A member of CIA director Bill Burns' team who traveled with him to India this month was treated for "symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome," CNN first reported Monday.

Why it matters: Current and former officials told the New York Times the incident signals a "possible escalation" in the mysterious neurological symptoms affecting as many as 200 Americans who've worked in overseas posts since 2016.

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