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Photo: Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the Wall Street Journal Wednesday that President Trump directed him to contact Rudy Giuliani in the spring about alleged Ukraine corruption concerns.

Why it matters: Per the WSJ, Perry's comments about the phone call he had with Trump's personal lawyer Giuliani concerning unsubstantiated allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election demonstrates "how closely the president’s personal lawyer worked with the administration on Ukraine policy."

  • Giuliani has also spoken with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in his quest for investigations in Ukraine, "which he has said he did at the president’s behest," the Journal notes.

The big picture: The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees have subpoenaed Perry to turn over documents by this Friday as part of their investigation into Trump's alleged efforts to push Ukraine to investigate 2020 candidate Joe Biden.

  • The purpose of the call between Perry and Giuliani was to look at setting up a meeting between Trump and new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
  • Their phone conversation took place well before Trump's July 25 call with Zelenskiy that's at the center of the House impeachment inquiry. Perry said there was no mention by the president, Giuliani or anyone at the Trump administration about investigating the former vice president or his son, Hunter Biden.

What they're saying: Giuliani told WSJ he just told Perry to "be careful" with regards to Zelensky. Trump was concerned the Ukrainians hadn't "straightened up their act."

  • Per the Journal, Giuliani "blamed Ukraine" during the phone call "for the dossier about Mr. Trump’s alleged ties to Russia that was created by a former British intelligence officer."
  • Giuliani had claimed that Ukraine had 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email server and that it had "'dreamed up' evidence that helped send former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to jail," per WSJ.
"I don’t know whether that was crap or what, but I’m just saying there were three things that he said. That’s the reason the president doesn’t trust these guys."
— Perry to the WSJ

Go deeper: Trump-Ukraine scandal: All the key players, dates and documents

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.