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Texas formally fires trooper who arrested Sandra Bland

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Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw has formally fired Brian Encinia, the trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, the agency announced Wednesday.

In the letter of final termination, McCraw said Tuesday: “I have carefully considered all the points raised by you in our meeting on February 5, 2016. I have determined that you have not rebutted the charges set out in the statement of charges of January 28, 2016. No cause has been presented to alter my preliminary decision. Therefore, it is now my decision that you be discharged from the Texas Department of Public Safety effective at 5:00 p.m., upon the date you receive this letter, pursuant to the authority vested in me by Section 411.007, Government Code.”

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Encinia signed the letter Wednesday morning.

Encinia stopped Bland near the Prairie View A&M University campus on July 10, 2015 for failing to properly signal a lane change. After a heated argument, the trooper arrested Bland for assaulting a public servant. Bland was found hanged in her Waller County jail cell three days later. Her death has been ruled a suicide.

A Waller County grand jury indicted Encinia in January after concluding there was evidence he lied about the circumstances under which Bland exited her car. If convicted of the misdemeanor perjury charge, Encinia could face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. His case will be heard in the 506th District Court in Waller County.

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McCraw announced the day of the indictment that he would begin termination proceedings. Encinia has 15 days to appeal McCraw’s decision to the Public Safety Commission, which oversees DPS.

Encinia attorney Larkin Eakin Jr. said his client will appeal the director’s decision.

By Johnathan Silver, The Texas Tribune

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New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion

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New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.

Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.

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Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."

Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.

Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.

Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.

Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!

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‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener

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Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."

"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.

"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.

She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."

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