Outgoing Energy chief Rick Perry spoke to Fox News on Friday morning and the first thing to note is that it does appear as though he will fall on his sword for Donald Trump when it comes to the infamous July 25 call with Ukraine’s President Zelensky.
Earlier this month, during a conference call with Republicans, Trump parroted his characterization of the call as “perfect”, but moved in the direction of putting it off on Rick. “Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call”, Trump reportedly said. “The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG plant”.
Perry backed up that assessment on Friday, telling Fox that he asked Trump to speak to Zelensky. He also said he’s waiting to hear from his lawyers on the subpoena he was “awarded” last week.
As you can see from the clip, Rick attempted to suggest that Mick Mulvaney’s egregious misstep on Thursday somehow conveyed the opposite of what it actually conveyed.
“I think he was straight up with what he said — you know I think there are people trying to–“, Perry attempted, before being interrupted. “Straight up how?”
“By basically saying that there was no quid pro quo in the sense of what those folks out there would like for it to be”, Perry continued.
To be absolutely clear, Mick Mulvaney said, explicitly, that the delay of nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was attributable (at least in part) to Trump’s desire to secure a commitment from Zelensky to investigate Democrats. Here, with subtitles, is what Mick said:
It does not get any more definitive than that, although, as the incomparable Bess Levin noted on Thursday, “in the minds of GOP lawmakers, the fact that the president didn’t literally say something like, ‘If you don’t investigate these things, I won’t give you any of the money, and I’ll send someone to break your legs,’ means he’s fully exonerated”.
Mulvaney was forced to issue a statement denying that he said what he said, which was itself an admission of guilt.
And if you think that Mick’s comments were somehow innocent, then you’ll have to look yourself in the mirror and explain why Jay Sekulow, as well as the Justice department, denied having anything to do with Mick’s press briefing. If Sekulow and Barr don’t want to touch it, you probably shouldn’t either.
In any event, Perry quickly pivoted to Joe Biden, saying he never heard anyone say that Trump intended to withhold congressionally-approved funds unless Hunter Biden was investigated, despite the fact that the media circus around Mulvaney’s comments stems not from anything to do with the former vice president and his son, but rather on the idea that Trump tied the military aid to an investigation of the Democrats in the 2016 election, which is also illegal, and also an impeachable offense.
Rick went on to tell Fox that his resignation has “nothing to do with Ukraine”, a proposition that’s almost as laughable as the idea that there was “no problem” with Rudy Giuliani running a shadow State department earlier this year, something Perry also asserted on Friday morning.
Over the past two weeks, Democrats have zeroed in on Perry, who stood in for Mike Pence at the inauguration for Zelensky.
Last week, 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. Perry championed that shakeup, and at one point recommended two associates for the advisory board.
Perry, Gordon Sondland (who told House investigators a lot about Rudy Giuliani on Thursday) and Kurt Volker, reportedly took to calling themselves “the three amigos” over the summer after they were handed control of Ukraine policy by Mick Mulvaney.