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Vindman before the House Intelligence Committee in November 2019. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said Thursday that she plans to block the promotion of 1,123 senior military officers through the Senate until Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirms that he will not block the promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

Why it matters: Some lawmakers and military officials are concerned that Vindman's promotion could be sunk by White House retaliation over his testimony in President Trump's impeachment inquiry, the New York Times and Washington Post report.

  • Duckworth's office described the move in a press release as "unprecedented in modern times."

The backdrop: Trump fired Vindman from the White House in February, tweeting that the national security official "was very insubordinate, reported contents of my 'perfect' calls incorrectly and was given a horrendous report by his superior."

What she's saying: "Our military is supposed to be the ultimate meritocracy. 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," Duckworth said in a statement.

  • After Trump endorsed the idea of removing Vindman, but before the key security official was escorted out of the White House, Esper told reporters in February that the Pentagon "[protects] all of our persons, service members from retribution or anything like that."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Sep 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

First look: Biden's tough "Knock on the Door" ad

Joe Biden, believing President Trump is suddenly vulnerable with military voters, goes up today with an ad called "Knock On The Door," featuring retired Air force Brigadier General John Douglass, a former casualty notification officer.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Death toll mounts as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 109 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed since recent fighting between Israel's military and Hamas began Monday.

The big picture: Israel began massing troops on its border with Gaza on Thursday, launching attacks from the air and ground as Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.

By the numbers: Where the earmarks are wanted

Expand chart
Data: House Committee on Appropriations; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is being targeted for the largest collective earmark request in the country, according to a detailed breakdown of overall requests released by the House Appropriations Committee.

Why it matters: House appropriators are trying to balance bipartisan momentum for infrastructure investment with "pork-barrel" spending's checkered political history. The data dump is an effort to provide transparency for what are now termed "community project funding" requests.