Rick Perry did what virtually no other senior Trump official managed to do – he avoided being swept up in personal scandals or otherwise being sucked into the president’s own legal hell.
Until now. He avoided it until now.
Because thanks to his role in the administration’s various dealings in Ukraine, Rick is now knee-deep in an impeachment inquiry, even as he prepares to resign his post as Energy secretary. On Thursday, he was subpoenaed by House Democrats.
“Recently, public reports have raised questions about any role you may have played in conveying or reinforcing the President’s stark message to the Ukrainian President”, Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel and Elijah Cummings wrote to Perry, adding that “these reports have also raised significant questions about your efforts to press Ukrainian officials to change the management structure at a Ukrainian state-owned energy company to benefit individuals involved with Rudy Giuliani’s push to get Ukrainian officials to interfere in our 2020 election”.
Over the past two weeks, Democrats have zeroed in on Perry, who 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.
And it’s not just that.
On Monday, media reports detailed a purported scheme involving a cabal of Republican businessmen who allegedly touted their ties to Trump and Giuliani while attempting to orchestrate a management shakeup at Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state gas company. The idea, sources told AP, was to install new management who would then channel business to allies of Trump. Perry is said to have taken it up, pressuring the country to oust Naftogaz’s supervisory board.
Earlier this year, Giuliani associates (and Trump donors) Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman pitched themselves to Naftogaz as suppliers of US natural gas. The two men were arrested on Wednesday on campaign finance charges. Among other things, they stand accused of attempting to orchestrate the ouster of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, a central figure in the whistle-blower complaint.
“As God is my witness,” Joe and Hunter Biden didn’t come up, Perry told the Christian Broadcasting Network this week, denying that his conversations with Ukrainian officials ever involved perpetuating Trump’s efforts to secure investigations into political opponents.
Democrats want access to all documents that might shed further light on any of the above.
“The enclosed subpoena demands documents that are necessary for the Committees to examine this sequence of these events and the reasons behind the White House’s decision to withhold critical military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated by Congress to counter Russian aggression”, Schiff, Engel and Cummings wrote to Perry.
Given that Trump is said to have told top House Republicans that it was Rick’s idea for the White House to take the now infamous call with Zelensky, nobody would blame Perry if he threw Trump under the bus before Trump does it to him.
Full letter and schedule2019-10-10.EEC Engel Schiff to Perry-DOE Joint Cover Letter re Subpoena
Perry Subpoena Schedule-FINAL