Energy Secretary Rick Perry emphatically denied anything improper occurred as part of the Trump administration’s efforts in Ukraine and said he was comfortable consulting with the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in those pursuits.
Perry, who announced his resignation Thursday, defended the administration’s efforts in Ukraine — he was known as one of the administration’s “three amigos” on Ukrainian policy — as a genuine effort to fight general corruption in the country and said he never heard any effort to seek political ammunition against former Vice President Joe Biden now at the center of an impeachment inquiry in the House.
“There was no quid pro quo in the sense of what those folks out there would like for it to be: We’re [not] going to give you this money unless you go investigate Joe Biden and his son,” Perry said in a Fox News interview. “I never heard that said anywhere, anytime in any conversation.”
“Never heard the Bidens name at one time,” he added. “Not with anyone.”
Perry said he was comfortable working with Giuliani at Trump’s direction, adding he commonly consulted with non-governmental experts while serving as governor of Texas.
“I respect the State Department but I happen to know people in the energy industry that are smarter than the State Department folks,” Perry said. “I didn’t see a problem with that at all.”
Perry said he pressed Trump to make the now-infamous July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but defended the administration’s efforts to root out corruption in that country as “completely and absolutely legitimate.”
“I pushed on him a lot to make that phone call because I became convinced that Zelensky, the people around him were legitimately trying to get rid of the corruption and get off the Russian gas,” he said, referring to Ukraine’s reliance on Russia for its natural gas supplies.
Perry added that he also pushed former national security adviser John Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on those issues.
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