Oct 17, 2019

Perry tells WSJ Trump directed him to contact Giuliani on Ukraine

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

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry offers Trump his resignation

Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

Energy Secretary Rick Perry informed President Trump on Thursday that he is resigning, Bloomberg first reported and Trump later confirmed. Perry's exact departure date is unknown, but Trump told reporters it would be "at the end of the year" and that he has already picked a successor.

Why it matters: While Perry has largely avoided the kind of controversies that have plagued Trump Cabinet officials like Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, he has recently found himself embroiled in the Ukraine scandal currently at the heart of the House's impeachment inquiry. Perry told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that he was directed by President Trump to seek out Rudy Giuliani to discuss the president's concerns about alleged Ukrainian corruption.

Go deeperArrowOct 17, 2019

Trump's Rudy problem

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo. Photos by Drew Angerer, Anthony Devlin, Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto, and Paul Morigi via Getty Images

Amid near-daily revelations of Rudy Giuliani’s “shadow” foreign policy, senior administration officials are worried that more information could surface connecting official Trump administration policy to Giuliani's personal financial gain.

The big picture: Several people close to the president are infuriated that Giuliani exerts what they see as unwarranted influence over Trump and U.S. foreign policy, with some going so far as to blame him outright for the Ukraine mess.

Go deeperArrowOct 20, 2019

Gordon Sondland testifies that Ukraine aid was conditioned on Biden investigation

Gordon Sondland (L); Kurt Volker. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee released on Tuesday transcripts of its closed-door interviews with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker.

Driving the news: Sondland, a key figure in alleged efforts by President Trump and Rudy Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and the 2016 presidential election, revised his Oct. 17 testimony on Nov. 4, according to the transcript. He stated that he told an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that military assistance would not be released until Zelensky issued a statement agreeing to investigate Burisma, a gas company with ties to Biden's son.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 5, 2019