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Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who served as a key witness in President Trump's impeachment trial, announced Wednesday that he has moved to retire from the military after 21 years of service amid fears that he will "forever be limited" due to political backlash over his testimony.

The big picture: The president fired Vindman in February as the leading Ukraine expert on the National Security Council for being "insubordinate," but top military leaders including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claim Vindman had not been politically targeted.

  • In his testimony, Vindman called Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden "inappropriate" and said he reported his concerns on the matter due to a "sense of duty."
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) vowed last week to block the promotions of 1,123 senior military officers until Esper confirmed that Vindman's promotion would go through.

What they're saying: "Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation, the president of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a president. Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers, " Vindman's lawyer, Amb. David Pressman, said in a statement.

  • "These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it," Pressman added.

Flashback: In concluding his opening statement at the impeachment hearing, Vindman emotionally addressed his immigrant father: "You made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth."

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In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

4 hours ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China