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‘An extraordinary day’: Brazilian leftist leader Lula freed from prison

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“An extraordinary day in Brazil—for the world, given Lula’s stature.”

This is a developing story… check back for updates.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, was freed from prison Friday after a year-and-a-half behind bars due to a politically motivated prosecution from the country’s right-wing government.

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A large crowd, most decked in Workers’ Party red, gathered to welcome Lula back to freedom.

“You don’t know how much you represent me,” the former Brazilian president told the throng of supporters.

“An extraordinary day in Brazil,” The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “for the world, given Lula’s stature.”

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“It’s an emotional day,” Greenwald added.

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“Wow!” Greenwald’s Intercept colleague, writer Naomi Klein, replied. “This is big.”

For his part, Lula tweeted a video of himself working out, saying “Lula Livre.”

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Lula was imprisoned in April 2018 after a series of events that The Associated Press described as part of a plot by Brazil’s right-wing to seize power:

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Da Silva’s hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and removed from office in 2016. Then Da Silva was jailed in April 2018 after a group of judges upheld his conviction for corruption and money laundering. That left his leftist Workers’ Party rudderless, and it was further demoralized when routed in the 2018 general elections.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, called for Lula’s release from prison in June and remains the only 2020 presidential candidate to do so.

“Lula da Silva was imprisoned in a politicized prosecution that denied him a fair trial and due process,” Sanders said in a statement to The Intercept on June 11. “During his presidency, Lula oversaw huge reductions in poverty and remains Brazil’s most popular politician. I stand with political and social leaders across the globe who are calling on Brazil’s judiciary to release Lula and annul his conviction.”

By Friday afternoon, a large crowd had gathered to await Lula’s release.

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Follow the livestream from the Workers’ Party:

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(Photo: Mauro Pimentel/AFP/)

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We’ll ‘come out stronger’: Michelle Obama weighs in on Trump’s ‘surreal’ impeachment

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Former first lady Michelle Obama went on NBC's "Today" on Monday to talk about the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

During her NBC interview, Obama described the Trump impeachment as "surreal" and predicted that the United States would come back stronger afterward.

"I don't think people know what to make of it," she said. "But do I think we can come back from it? Oh yeah."

Obama then put Trump's impeachment in historical perspective.

"We've seen tough times in this country," she said. "You know we've gone through depressions and wars and bombings and terrorist attacks, and we've gone through Jim Crow, and we've always come out stronger. And that's what we have to continue to believe because what's our choice? To ball up in a corner and call it a day? Well that's not fair to this next generation that's coming before us that are counting on us to get this right."

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How Bill Barr will try to destroy his own DOJ report blowing up Trump’s ‘Deep State’ conspiracy theory

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In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Michael Tomasky warns that Attorney General Bill Barr will continue to act as Donald Trump's personal lawyer and will undercut Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report that is expected to show no "Deep State" conspiracy against the president.

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Here are six hints that baby Jesus stories were added much later to early Christian legends

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The wonder-filled birth story of the baby Jesus was centuries in the making.

Picture a creche with baby Jesus in a manger and shepherds and angels and three kings and a star over the stable roof. We think of this traditional scene as representing the Christmas story, but it actually mixes elements from two different nativity stories in the Bible, one in Matthew and one in Luke, with a few embellishments that got added in later centuries. What was the historical kernel? Most likely we will never know, because it appears that the Bible’s nativity stories are themselves highly-embellished late add-ons to the Gospels.

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