Impeachment update: New testimony implicates Rick Perry in Ukraine scandal

by | Nov 6, 2019 | Foreign Policy, Impeachment

A U.S. ambassador has named Secretary of Energy and former Texas Governor Rick Perry as a key figure in Trump’s foreign policy in Ukraine that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. 

According to the transcript of European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s closed-door testimony released Tuesday, a meeting between Trump and the Ukrainian president was conditional on investigating the Bidens. “It started with corruption,” Sondland said during his testimony. “Then it was Burisma and 2016 election. And then at some point in the continuum, late in the game, I connected Burisma with Biden.” 

Sondland claims that while these conditions originated from Rudy Giuliani, they were conveyed to him by Perry, as well as Perry’s chief of staff Brian McCormack and special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. 

“It must have [originated from] Giuliani, because I wasn’t talking to the president about it,” Sondland said. “So I was hearing this all from Volker and Perry and Perry’s chief of staff, who was heavily involved.”

Perry, who has previously been tied to the Ukraine scandal, had urged Trump to make the now infamous phone call with the president of Ukraine that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

However, Perry claimed that he only discussed energy policy and the Bidens never came up. “Not once, as God as my witness, not once was a Biden name — not the former vice president, not his son — ever mentioned,” Perry told CBN News in early October.  

Sondland’s testimony is evidence that Perry was indeed aware of Trump’s attempt to pressure Ukraine into digging up dirt on the Bidens.

Sondland also admitted in his testimony to having two conversations with Perry after the release of the whistleblower report on September 26. “Do you understand that that may have the appearance of trying to line up your testimony with Secretary Perry?” asked Daniel Goldman, an aide to House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and former federal prosecutor.“I wanted to refresh my memory,” responded Sondland.

So far, Rick Perry has declined to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. 

Public hearings for the impeachment inquiry are scheduled to begin next week.

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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