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Duckworth to block military confirmations until Esper proves Vindman will be promoted

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a 'mistake' Top Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: Another Defense official resigns | Pentagon chief says military 'remains strong' despite purge | Top contender for Biden DOD secretary would be historic pick MORE (D-Ill.) announced Thursday that she is blocking the Senate confirmation of 1,123 senior U.S. Armed Forces promotions until Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Ex-Nunes aide linked to Biden conspiracy theories will lead Pentagon transition Brennan takes final shot at Trump: 'I leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap' MORE confirms that he is not going to block the promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanEsper: If my replacement is 'a real yes man' then 'God help us' Ukrainian president whose call with Trump sparked impeachment congratulates Biden Alexander Vindman congratulates Biden, Harris on election victory MORE to colonel.

Vindman, a decorated Iraq War veteran who served on the staff of the White House’s National Security Council, was a prominent witness in the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE last year.

Trump removed Vindman from his position with the National Security Council after his testimony, but Duckworth is pushing to make sure that the administration does not deny him his expected promotion to colonel.

The Illinois Democrat, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, accused Trump in a statement Thursday of trying to “politicize the nation’s Armed Forces.” She is asking for Esper to provide written confirmation that Vindman will be promoted to colonel. 

“Our military is supposed to be the ultimate meritocracy,” Duckworth said. “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.”