Energy Secretary Rick Perry, 1 of the ‘3 amigos’ on Ukraine, to resign
US Department of Energy(WASHINGTON) — Energy Secretary Rick Perry, described by colleagues as one of the “three amigos” on U.S. policy on Ukraine, informed President Donald Trump on Thursday that he plans to resign, according to two senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.
A day of departure has not been determined. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not provide an immediate explanation on why he was leaving.
Perry, who was Texas’ longest serving governor and ran against Trump for president in 2016 before joining his administration, has not been accused of any wrongdoing. He also has insisted that actions he took regarding Ukraine were intended to advance U.S. interests in the region – namely addressing government corruption and encouraging American companies to do business there.
In recent weeks, Perry has repeatedly knocked down suggestions that he planned to resign, including telling the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Wednesday that he planned to still be in the job on Thanksgiving.
“They have been writing a story that I was leaving the Department of Energy for at least nine months now,” he told reporters at an Oct. 4 press conference in Lithuania. “One of these days they will probably get it right, but it’s not today, not tomorrow, not next month.”
In his Journal interview, Perry also seemed to point the finger at Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for trying to press the newly installed Ukrainian government to conduct an investigation.
According to Perry, he wanted Trump to call Ukraine’s new president to forge a positive new relationship between the two countries. But Trump referred him to his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who told Perry that Ukraine manufactured evidence used to launch the U.S. special investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Giuliani said Ukraine had Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email server and fabricated evidence that implicated former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
U.S. intelligence agencies have long said Russia, not Ukraine, tried to interfere in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump, not Clinton.
Manafort was sent to jail for tax and bank fraud on charges unrelated to the Trump campaign and tied to his political consulting work in Ukraine.
“I don’t know whether that was crap or what,” Perry told the Journal of Giuliani’s call. “But I’m just saying there were three things that he said. That’s the reason the president doesn’t trust these guys.”
Perry said in the interview that Vice President Joe Biden never came up in his discussions with Trump, Giuliani or others. But in a July 25 phone call to Ukraine’s president, Trump urges Ukrainian president to launch an investigation into the 2016 election and the role Biden’s son played serving on a board of a Ukraine gas company.
Biden and his son, Hunter, have both said they did nothing wrong. In an interview with ABC News, Hunter acknowledged it was “poor judgement” to serve on an overseas board while his father as working as vice president but that there was no wrongdoing.
Perry’s influential role in the region has led him to be described by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and others as one of the “three amigos” tasked with overseeing the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.
That role in Ukraine also has made him a key person of interest for lawmakers seeking first-hand knowledge of events. He received a subpoena on Oct. 10; while some federal officials have testified under subpoena, other entities – the Defense Department, Office of Management and Budget, as well as Giuliani — have declined to comply.
Perry is the second Cabinet member to step down in a week. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan resigned on Oct. 11 for reasons unrelated to the impeachment inquiry.
In his 2016 bid for the presidency, Perry said the Energy Department should be eliminated. After being named to head the post, he has used his role as secretary to expand the influence of American energy abroad, particularly in natural gas and nuclear technology. He has frequently said that being Energy secretary is the “coolest job in the world,” while being governor of Texas was the best job.
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