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.

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House committee subpoenas Pompeo for records on Biden investigations

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Friday subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for records related to the State Department's involvement in attempts to link former Vice President Joe Biden to corruption in Ukraine.

Why it matters: Engel alleges that Pompeo has turned over similar documents to Senate Republicans but not House Democrats and claims that he "has turned the State Department into an arm of the Trump campaign" by using its resources to attempt to investigate Biden.

Death spiral for consumers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Despite some recent good news about dwindling household debt, the financial health of U.S. consumers is rapidly deteriorating — and families with children are faring the worst.

Why it matters: As Congress deadlocks over pandemic relief and President Trump issues executive orders of dubious potency, many Americans are suffering from a quintuple whammy: unemployment, overdue rent, mounting bills, food insecurity and health fears.

The end of Hong Kong's political freedom is here

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The end of Hong Kong's relatively free political system is no longer looming. It's here.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is already wielding the new national security law it forced upon Hong Kong just over a month ago.

  • And through the extraterritoriality enshrined in the new law, Beijing has signaled that its push against pro-democracy activism is going global.