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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden has an Elizabeth Warren problem.

The big picture: Warren is rising in national, battleground and state polls, electrifying liberals with her very specific and very liberal ideas — and she's well-positioned to undermine Biden, win or lose.

  • Warren has the ability to unify the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, especially if she locks arms with AOC in attacking Biden’s more cautious and conventional politics. 
  • Even if she tops out, her politics are much closer to Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris, so she could help lift another candidate over Biden with her endorsement and support.

Be smart: Biden’s people are worried about her rise, and feel they caught a break in not having to face her in the first debate. 

  • "Avoided her and thus avoided a potential first round TKO," a Biden confidant told me.

The intrigue: President Trump has told people he thought he killed her campaign with his "Pocahontas" smear and that he’s surprised by her resurgence, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

  • Trump, in private chats, wonders if she he sprang the taunts too early.

A Biden source tells me: "What we see here is a battle between Bernie and Warren for the left lane of the Dem electorate — Warren’s rise is largely coming from Bernie, not from Biden. A good reminder that Biden appeals to a much wider swath of the electorate than either of them do."

A Biden adviser adds:

  • "Warren's 'rise' isn’t a surprise. ... What was surprising was Warren's slow start — she’s now where we thought she'd be upon entry."
  • "It doesn't matter to us whether it's Bernie or Warren — either way we are happy to have someone who is operating in the far left lane in second place."

Go deeper: Elizabeth Warren on the issues, in under 500 words

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Go deeper

NASA estimates Tonga volcano exploded with force of 5-6 megatons

A satellite image of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Dec. 24, before the eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

NASA scientists estimate the power of the Tonga volcanic eruption over the weekend to have been 5-6 Megatons of TNT equivalent.

Threat level: Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano and subsequent tsunami killed at least three people. Scientists warn an "ash-seawater cocktail" poses a potentially toxic health threat, and drinking water could have contaminated.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

New York AG alleges "significant evidence" of Trump Organization fraud

Combination images of former President Trump and New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York's attorney general filed a motion Tuesday seeking to compel former President Trump and his two elder children to appear for sworn testimony in her office's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's financial dealings.

Why it matters: Attorney General Letitia James revealed new details in the court filing and a statement on her office's investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, including a preliminary finding alleging the company used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."

4 hours ago - Technology

Ex-N.Y. Post digital chief files lawsuit alleging sexual harassment

Richard B. Levine) (Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Former New York Post editor Michelle Gotthelf is suing her former employer, its parent company News Corp. and two editors, alleging she was reprimanded after complaining to senior executives that she was sexually harassed by retired N.Y. Post editor-in-chief Col Allan. The N.Y. Post issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: "I felt that I owed it to myself and I owed it to the news organization and the people who answered to me," Gotthelf, who was a long time editor at the N.Y. Post, told Axios in an interview.

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