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Rick Perry is 3rd cabinet official subpoenaed in impeachment inquiry

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  • Secretary of Energy Rick Perry became the third member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet to be subpoenaed in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against Trump.
  • Trump is at the center of a scandal over his efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival, and possibly using military aid as a bargaining chip and roping his cabinet officials into the process.
  • In a July 25 call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked him to do him “a favor” by probing former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s role on the board of a Ukrainian oil and gas company. 
  • The president has implicated US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in the Ukraine saga, reportedly claiming recently that Perry had encouraged him to call Zelensky regarding Hunter Biden’s business activities.
  • “Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call,” Trump said on a call with House Republicans, a source familiar with the comments told Axios.
  • Previously, House Democrats have subpoenaed acting OMB Director Russel Vought and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is now the third member of President Donald Trump‘s cabinet to be subpoenaed in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against Trump. 

Trump is at the center of a scandal over his efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival, and possibly using military aid as a bargaining chip and roping his cabinet officials into the process.

A whistleblower complaint filed by an anonymous intelligence community official claimed Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election” in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. 

Trump ordered his administration to withhold a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine days before the phone call.

The White House’s memo summarizing the calls confirm Trump brought up how the US does “a lot for Ukraine” right before asking Zelensky to do him a “favor, though” by investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s role on the board of a Ukrainian oil and gas company. 

Read more: Trump is reportedly blaming Rick Perry for his infamous call with the Ukrainian president

The president has implicated US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in the Ukraine saga, claiming recently that Perry had encouraged him to call Zelensky regarding Hunter Biden’s business dealings. 

“Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call,” Trump said on a call with House Republicans, a source familiar with the comments told Axios. “The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG [liquefied natural gas] plant.”

Following Axios’ report, Perry acknowledged that he “absolutely” encouraged the president to call Zelensky “multiple times,” but not about the Bidens. 

In the House Democrats’ letter subpoenaing Perry, the chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs committees wrote that Axios’ report “raised significant questions about your efforts to press Ukrainian officials to change the management structure at a Ukrainian state-owned energy company.”

On October 7, House Democrats issued a subpoena to Russell Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, for documents pertaining to reports that Trump had asked former OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to withhold the already-appropriated aid to Ukraine. 

And on September 27, the same House Committee chairs issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was revealed by the Wall Street Journal to have been on the call after denying it in an interview with ABC.

In addition to misrepresenting his involvement in the Trump-Zelensky call, Pompeo is also accused of obstructing the congressional investigation into the matter by refusing to comply with the House’s subpoenas. 

Read more: Mike Pompeo made at least 4 significantly misleading statements about his role in the Trump-Ukraine phone call

In September, Pompeo sent a letter to the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees, telling them their requests to depose department officials connected to the whistleblower’s complaint are “not feasible” and “do not provide adequate time for the Department and its employees to prepare” for testimony.

In turn, Democratic lawmakers accused Pompeo of “intimidating Department witnesses” from testifying and warned that it “will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”

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