Rep. Joaquin Castro is calling on Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to testify in the congressional impeachment hearings.
Perry, the former governor of Texas, has been increasingly implicated in the Trump-Ukraine scandal as testimonies from key Trump administration officials have begun to shed light on how the president used his powers to try and bribe Ukraine into investigating one of his political opponents.
On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified that, among other things, the Trump Ukraine quid pro quo was “no secret” and most relevant officials, including Perry, were warned about them in an email several days before the infamous July 25 call where Trump asked newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
This, coupled with a recent bombshell report from the Associated Press that alleged Perry secured a potentially lucrative oil and gas exploration deal in what appears to be a little quid pro quo of his own, has made Perry a central figure in the impeachment hearings.
Now, Castro is calling on the former Texas governor to testify and for the Department of Justice to investigate the details behind the AP report.
“Rick Perry and others were apparently on the mission to help the president accomplish it,” Castro said. “These guys really weren’t carrying out diplomatic work. They were carrying out the president’s dirty work, and it looks like they were trying to enrich the president or their friends.”
Perry has already refused to comply with a House subpoena requesting Ukraine-related documents needed for the impeachment investigation, meaning he will likely continue to blackball congressional investigators.
What was Perry doing in Ukraine anyway?
Since neither Trump, Vice President Mike Pence or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were available, Perry was tasked with traveling to Ukraine in May of this year to lead the U.S. delegation at the inauguration of the newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
At the time, Perry, Sondland and top diplomat Kurt Volker were in charge of crafting U.S. policy toward Ukraine. In June, the three met in Perry’s office to discuss a meeting between Zelensky and Trump. That same month, the three officials, including Perry, also jumped in a phone call and according to the testimony of diplomat William Taylor, there was some discussion about the need for Ukraine to cooperate on investigations to “get to the bottom of things.”
Of the three officials supposedly in charge of Ukraine foreign policy, only Perry has yet to testify, either publically or in a closed-dooring hearing.
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