WASHINGTON — Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry may have just left Washington but Washington is not done with him — he appears dozens of times in the House Intelligence Committee report as a major player in the impeachment inquiry.
The report issued Tuesday places Perry, former Texas governor, at the center of President Trump’s “scheme” to withhold $400 million in military assistance from Ukraine in return for an investigation that would damage a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
“Although President Trump’s scheme intentionally bypassed many career personnel, it was undertaken with the knowledge and approval of senior Administration officials, including the President’s Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry,” said the report by the Democratic majority.
Perry, who resigned Sunday and returned to Texas, declined to testify before the panel or respond to a subpoena for documents. He has maintained that his role in Ukraine was to promote energy and American business. He also said that “not once, as God is my witness” was the Biden name brought up in the lead up to the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy which is at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
However, the report, which was based on testimony, hearings and depositions, puts Perry in the center of a “months-long campaign” with the vice president, secretary of state and other officials who “were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.”
Since May, when Perry led the U.S. delegation to Zelenskiy’s inauguration, he was part of Ukraine policy as one of the “three amigos,” along with ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and special envoy Kurt Volker. Perry was directed by Trump to talk to his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who was heavily involved in administration policy in the Ukraine, according to the report.
The report faults Perry for not having responded to the House investigation.
“To date, Secretary Perry has not produced a single document sought by the Committees and has not indicated any intent to do so going forward,” it said.
Among the documents the committee is seeking:
• A document passed from Perry to Zelenskiy in a May 2019 meeting with a list of “people he trusts” on issues of relating to “key Ukrainian energy-sector contacts,” according to David Holmes, the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv; the report also noted that embassy staff was barred from subsequent meetings about the contacts by Perry’s staff.
• A June 5 email from Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of state, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, to Perry and others, regarding “Zelensky’s visit to Brussels, and the critical —perhaps historic — role of the dinner and engagement Gordon (Ambassador Sondland) coordinated.”
• A July 19 email from Perry in which he states: “Mick (Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney) just confirmed the call being set up for tomorrow by NSC” in reference to a call between Trump and Zelenskiy.
The report also said that lawmakers believe that the Energy Department “continues to withhold” more documents related to the impeachment inquiry.