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Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman in November. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) released a letter to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Trump's impeachment trial, Wednesday, writing that he "left an indelible mark on our nation’s conscience and history."

Why it matters: Vindman announced his retirement from the military on Wednesday after 21 years of service amid fears of political backlash following his testimony in which he described Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden as "inappropriate."

What they're saying: "Right does not matter to Donald Trump," said Schiff, who oversaw the impeachment proceeding in the House and served as chief prosecutor in the Senate trial. "But it matters to you. It matters to this country and to its people. It will always matter."

  • "I know that this retirement is not how you envisioned your decorated Army career ending. It should not have ended this way. You should not have been subjected to bullying and retaliation from the President. You should not have had to choose between your oath of office and your career. You followed your patriotic and legal duty to tell the truth."

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

Read the full letter.

Go deeper

The top Republicans who aren't voting for Trump in 2020

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said last week that he cannot support President Trump's re-election.

Why it matters: Hogan, a moderate governor in a blue state, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.

Parents in Michigan, Virginia sue AG over action on school board threats

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during an October news conference in Mexico City. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

A group of parents in Michigan and Virginia accused Attorney General Merrick Garland in a federal lawsuit Tuesday of trying to "criminalize" free speech by directing law enforcement to review threats against school staff.

Why it matters: The lawsuit, filed by the conservative American Freedom Law Center on behalf of the parents in two school districts, accuses Garland of seeking to suppress free speech in his memorandum directing federal authorities to counter the threats spike.

Reading the fundraising tea leaves in Virginia

Terry McAuliffe (left) and Glenn Youngkin speak during a debate last month. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democrat Terry McAuliffe may be trouncing Glenn Youngkin in fundraising, but when it comes to dollars from donors in Virginia — the state where they're battling to become governor — the Republican has the edge.

Why it matters: With tight polls between the two gubernatorial candidates less than two weeks before Election Day, the parties are also looking to fundraising as a predictor of success.