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Joe Biden. Screenshot: His announcement video

Joseph Robinette Biden is running for president for the 3rd time in 4 decades, with an announcement video focused on President Trump's response to the racist march in Charlottesville.

What they're saying: "Biden’s sister and longtime political confidante, Valerie Biden Owens, described Trump’s comments as a 'blow' to the man who had served as the No. 2 to America’s first black president," the AP reports.

  • “'It really started percolating, and the essence of this was Charlottesville,' Biden Owens said. 'I can tell you that was a major motivating moment for my brother, and the entire family.'”
  • Watch the video.

Why it matters: Absent a big surprise, the Democratic field is now set, with neither of the two early frontrunners bowing out.

Your cheat sheet on Biden launch day:

  • Trump welcomed him with a mean tweet: “Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign."
  • There was no immediate Obama endorsement (Biden claims he asked his former boss not to deliver one.)
  • And Biden hired Bernie's 2016 press secretary, Symone Sanders, to advise the campaign.
  • Biden called "Anita Hill earlier this month to express his regret over 'what she endured' testifying against Justice Clarence Thomas at the 1991 Supreme Court hearings," the NYT reports.
  • "But Ms. Hill ... said she left the conversation feeling deeply unsatisfied and declined to characterize his words to her as an apology."
  • "She said she is not convinced that Mr. Biden truly accepts the harm he caused her and other women who suffered sexual harassment and gender violence."

Chris Christie to Tina Brown: “If Biden can make it through the primaries, he’s the one Dem candidate who appeals to the white working-class voters who handed the election to Trump — and could hand 2020 to Biden instead."

Go deeper

Dems race to address, preempt stimulus fraud claims

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Biden officials are working to root out the systematic fraud in unemployment and Paycheck Protection Program claims that plagued the Trump administration’s efforts to boost the economy with coronavirus relief money, Gene Sperling told House committee chairmen privately this week.

Why it matters: President Biden just signed another $1.9 trillion of aid into law, with Sperling tapped to oversee its implementation. And the administration is asking Congress to approve another $2.2 trillion for the first phase of an infrastructure package.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden close to picking Nick Burns as China ambassador

Nicholas Burns. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat, is in the final stages of vetting to serve as President Biden’s ambassador to China, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Across the administration, there's a consensus the U.S. relationship with China will be the most critical — and consequential — of Biden's presidency. From trade to Taiwan, the stakes are high. Burns could be among the first batch of diplomatic nominees announced in the coming weeks.

Biden's Russian sanctions likely to achieve little

President Biden announces new sanctions against Russia. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Despite bold talk from top administration officials, there's little reason to think the Russia sanctions package President Biden announced Thursday will do anything to alter Russian President Vladimir Putin's behavior or calculus.

Why it matters: While it's true some elements of the package — namely, the targeting of Russia's sovereign debt — represent significant punitive measures against Moscow, it leaves plenty of wiggle room for the Russian president.