Remember when Rick Perry’s reportedly imminent resignation had “nothing to do with Ukraine” or the snowballing impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump?
No? That’s ok, we don’t remember either, because that was never a plausible narrative. But some folks tried to foist it on the public Friday after Politico first reported that Perry was likely to resign soon.
Clearly, the timing is no coincidence. The news hit roughly 48 hours after Senator Bob Menendez sent a letter to Perry asking if the Energy secretary had any part in pushing the president’s personal agenda in Ukraine. Perry stood in for Mike Pence at the inauguration for Ukraine’s President Zelensky, whose call with Trump is at the heart of the impeachment probe.
Don’t mistake our saying the timing isn’t a coincidence as an assertion that Perry did something wrong. There is no evidence that he did.
“As God is my witness,” Joe and Hunter Biden didn’t come up, he told the Christian Broadcasting Network this week, denying that his conversations with Ukrainian officials were tied to Trump’s efforts to secure investigations into political opponents.
However, he is now embroiled in the impeachment inquiry and House Democrats have demanded documents from the administration including communications tied to Perry.
Well, according to Axios, Trump may be poised to throw Perry under the bus as part of an effort to slowly distance himself from the Zelensky call.
During a conference call with Republicans on Friday, Trump parroted his characterization of the call as “perfect”, but moved in the direction of putting it off on Rick.
“Per sources, Trump rattled off the same things he has been saying publicly…but he then threw Perry into the mix”, Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan write, before pseudo-quoting Trump as follows:
Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG plant.
Three sources said that works as a rough approximation of what Trump told House Republicans.
As Treene and Swan go on to point out, “the president’s remarks suggest he may be seeking to distance himself from responsibility or recast the pretext for the call”.
That, despite a cache of text messages involving former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and EU ambassador Gordon Sondland seemingly showing Rudy Giuliani pulled many of the strings.
“More of this will be coming out in the next few days”, another source told Swan, again quoting Trump.
Apparently, “this” was a reference to Perry’s involvement in setting up the call.