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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Elizabeth Warren understands Wall Street better than any other presidential candidate. She studied it in her previous career as a Harvard professor, and she has effectively built her own think tank inside the Senate, coming up with genuinely novel ideas for how to improve financial regulation.

What to watch: Warren has already received the grudging respect of many on Wall Street. Her diagnoses of where the financial services industry falls short are generally accurate, and her proposed regulations would probably give a competitive advantage to financial giants with large compliance departments.

Driving the news: Warren blasted the private equity industry this week. She understands that bankruptcy and limited liability can be good for capitalism and society as a whole, but that they can also be abused. When that happens, private equity companies can end up making profits from portfolio companies that go bust. Employees invariably bear the brunt, alongside trade creditors and even consumers with gift cards.

Our thought bubble: Private equity is the polite term for what used to be called leveraged buyouts. Mike Milken gave buyouts a bad name in the 1980s, and Warren is betting that private equity is similarly unloved today. Axios' Dan Primack says that Warren's proposals would kill much of the private equity industry, especially the turnaround sector. He may well be right. The question is whether it would be mourned.

What's next: Warren's academic research changed the way bankruptcy was thought about. Her proposal for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau became reality, with broad public support. When she says that the unbanked spend more on interest and fees than they do on food, she touches a nerve. It's easy to see potential profits for smart financial services industry executives who embrace her legitimate criticisms and try to get ahead of these issues.

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

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.