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Pentagon chief: No penalty for officer in impeachment probe

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says an Army officer has no reason to fear retribution for testifying before Congress in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

Esper was asked about potential retribution for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during a trip Monday to New York. The defense secretary said the Pentagon "has protections for whistleblowers" who report waste, fraud or abuse.

He says Vindman or any other whistleblower "shouldn't have any fear of retaliation," according to a transcript of the exchange released by online publication Defense One.

Vindman is a Ukraine specialist at the White House. He testified about concerns that Trump was delaying military aid to the Eastern European country while pressing the country to investigate his political rivals.

That allegation is now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.