Rick Perry Urged Trump to Call Ukraine Leader on Energy Issues
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged President Donald Trump to talk with Ukraine’s newly elected president, a suggestion that resulted in the telephone call that’s triggered House Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry.
“Secretary Perry absolutely supported and encouraged the president to speak to the new President of Ukraine to discuss matters related to their energy security and economic development,” spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said Saturday, after the Axios website reported on comments it said the president made about Perry and the origins of the call.
According to the website, Trump told House Republicans on Friday during a conference call that he spoke with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at Perry’s urging.
Trump said the only reason he made the call was because Perry asked him to, Axios reported, citing one person it didn’t identify.
Perry is headed to Eastern Europe this weekend for further talks with regional leaders, according to Hynes.
“He continues to believe that there is significant need for improved regional energy security -- which is exactly why he is heading to Lithuania tonight to meet with nearly two dozen European energy leaders (including Ukraine) on these issues,” Hynes said in an email.
Hynes said on Friday that Perry wasn’t on the call between Trump and Zelenskiy.
Perry told confidants in recent days that he plans to resign from the Trump administration by the end of the year, according to two people familiar with the matter.
His plan to depart comes amid scrutiny of his role in the White House’s interactions with Zelenskiy, although he had been planning his departure from the agency well before the issue became the subject of an impeachment query by House Democrats.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.