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Bolivia’s president presents pope with bizarre-looking hammer and sickle crucifix

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Bolivia’s President Evo Morales handed Pope Francis an unusual and some say “provocative” gift Thursday during the pontiff’s visit to the country: a carving of Christ crucified on a wooden sickle and hammer.

The sculpted juxtaposition of two of the world’s most potent symbols, Christianity and communism, was made by Jesuit priest Luis Espinal.

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A poet and artist, Espinal was assassinated in 1980 by right-wing paramilitaries, and the pope paid tribute to him Wednesday on his way from the airport to La Paz, stopping at the site of his death.

Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope.

Local Catholic leaders said the unusual gift fits with Morales’ quirky personality.

“We’re used to the creative originality of President Morales,” said Eugenio Coter, from the Church’s Bolivian Amazonian missionary region.

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“This is a provocation, a joke” said Bolivian Bishop Gonzalo del Castillo.

Bolivia’s communications minister, Marianela Paco, explained that the gift was symbolic: “The sickle evokes the peasant, the hammer the carpenter, representing humble workers, God’s people.”

“That was the intention of this gift, there was no other,” she told Radio Patria Nueva.

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The Vatican said the pope made no specific comment on the gift.

Religious expert Francisco Zaratti said the gift was anachronistic.

“In the ’70s such an object made sense, it represented a commitment to socialism. Today after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it belongs to the past,” he said.

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Giuliani’s public invitation to Ukraine to interfere in US elections opened the door for other countries to run to Trump

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President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani turned heads with his bizarre, unhinged rant on national television that effectively urged Ukraine to continue trying to gather dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden — and for news outlets to take whatever they find seriously.

As Casey Michel wrote in The Daily Beast, even if this effort ultimately fails to turn up useful opposition research against Biden, this is a profoundly dangerous development for American democracy.

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Trump whistleblower needs to go directly to FBI because Bill Barr can’t be trusted: Ex-FBI director

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Appearing on MSNBC with host Alex Witt, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi blew up Donald Trump's claim that he is the victim of a "Ukraine Witchhunt."

He then added that the whistleblower who went to the inspector general with a serious charge against the president should take what he has and go to the FBI within a week if nothing happens.

"We've got to get to the bottom of this, and we can't rely on leaks and certain reporters getting certain tidbits of information," the ex-FBI man explained. "This needs to be explored and it's likely this could end up in a criminal investigation."

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Furious Biden goes scorched earth on ‘serial abuser’ Trump over smears in epic rant

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On Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, former Vice President Joe Biden furiously laid into President Donald Trump amid reports he tried to strong-arm the Ukrainian government into digging up dirt on him and his son.

"Here's what I know, I know Trump deserves to be investigated," said Biden. "He is violating every basic norm of a president. You should be asking him the question, why is he on the phone with a foreign leader trying to intimidate a foreign leader, if that's what happened? That appears to have happened. You should be looking at Trump. Trump's doing this because he knows I'll beat him like a drum and he's using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me."

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