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Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), founder of the House Freedom Caucus, has just sent a letter to his colleagues announcing that he is officially running to replace Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House, Axios has confirmed. The Daily Caller's Robert Donachie was the first to report the news.

The state of play: Several leaders of the conservative movement called on Jordan to announce his candidacy in May, arguing that House Republican leadership "has utterly failed" and "proven that it’s part of the Swamp," and that Jordan is the solution.

"Should the American people entrust us with the majority again in the 116th Congress, I plan to run for Speaker of the House to bring real change to the House of Representatives."
— Statement from Jordan announcing his run

Be smart:

  • Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the favorite among President Trump and Ryan, who endorsed him in April.
  • House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has also been floated as a potential replacement for Ryan.

The backdrop: Jordan has been under criticism in recent weeks for reports that he ignored claims of sexual abuse from a doctor at Ohio State University while he was an assistant wrestling coach. Trump has backed Jordan's denial, saying earlier this month, saying he's "one of the most outstanding people I've met since I've been in Washington."

Go deeper

Stephen Breyer formally announces retirement from Supreme Court

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Justice Stephen Breyer on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden formally announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.

State of play: Breyer said his retirement will take effect when the court "rises for the summer recess (typically late June or early July) assuming that by then my successor has been nominated and confirmed."

COVID created an epic U.S. trade gap

Chart: Axios Visuals. Data: Census Bureau/Bureau of Economic Analysis

The details of the blockbuster fourth quarter GDP report released Thursday morning tell a vivid story of how the underpinnings of the world economy have been reshaped by the pandemic.

One example: In the arithmetic around U.S. economic output, trade acted as a more severe drag last year than it has in a generation.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Pandemic gave cover to online dating scams

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Crooked Casanovas used online dating scams to steal an estimated $500 million from lonely victims last year, according to a new analysis of government fraud data by Atlas VPN, an internet security provider.

Why it matters: The isolation of the lingering pandemic provided cover to fraudulent suitors who had an excuse for not meeting up in person even as they fleeced their would-be lovers out of gift cards, money — even cryptocurrency.