- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2020

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat, said Thursday that she intends to block the Senate confirmations of more than 1,100 senior military promotions until Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirms the promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who played a key role in Mr. Trump’s impeachment inquiry, will go through.

Mr. Trump suggested earlier this year that the U.S. military should look at disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Vindman, who gave testimony against the president in the impeachment inquiry.

Lt. Col. Vindman was removed from the National Security Council in February after the president alleged he and his brother falsely reported information about his phone calls with Ukraine’s president last year, conversations that led to the impeachment.

Mr. Esper at the time said that military officers are free from “retribution” when they return to the Pentagon from jobs elsewhere. But Lt. Col. Vindman’s promotion to colonel has since been stalled.

Ms. Duckworth, a former Army combat helicopter pilot and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, suggested that Mr. Trump may be seeking to retaliate against Lt. Col. Vindman “for complying with a lawfully issued congressional subpoena.”

“It is simply unprecedented and wrong for any Commander in Chief to meddle in routine military matters at all, whether or not he has a personal vendetta against a Soldier who did his patriotic duty and told the truth—a Soldier who has been recommended for promotion by his superiors because of his performance,” she said in a statement Thursday.

“I won’t just sit by and let it happen, and neither should any of my colleagues. This goes far beyond any single military officer, it is about protecting a merit-based system from political corruption and unlawful retaliation.”

Ms. Duckworth said that she will block 1,123 military promotions until the defense secretary submits written confirmation that Lt. Col. Vindman will receive the promotion.

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