On Monday, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry stated that he “absolutely” asked Donald Trump on several occasions to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but that he requested he called him about energy, not about Joe Biden or his son, Hunter.
Perry made the statement during a press conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. He states that he told Donald Trump that it was in both the nation’s best interests to have a discussion regarding energy issues.
Perry’s statements come on the heels of Donald Trump’s attempt to blame Perry for urging him to make the July 25 phone call that has become the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump and his actions during the phone conversations.
“Absolutely, I asked the President multiple times. ‘Mr. President, we think it is in the United States and in Ukraine’s best interest that you and the President of Ukraine have conversations and discuss the options that are there,'” Perry said Monday. “So absolutely yes.”
Perry’s spokesperson Shaylyn Hynes told CNN in an email that Perry did not take part in the phone conversation.
On Sunday the Energy Department confirmed that Perry “supported and encouraged” Trump to speak with Zelensky on matters related to energy and the economy.
Trump did not discuss any energy issues during the June 25 phone call according to a rough transcript of the call that was released by the White House. The transcript showed that Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate Joe Biden and the activities of the former vice president’s son, Hunter, who had been on a board of a Ukrainian natural gas company.
There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Joe or his son Hunter Biden.
On Friday, Perry stated while on the Christian Broadcasting Network that Joe Biden’s name never came up during the many conversations that he had with Trump and others.
“Not once, as God as my witness, not once was a Biden name — not the former Vice President, not his son — ever mentioned,” Perry stated.
It had been reported by both the New York Times and the Washington Post that Perry plans to resign from his position in November, but Perry states that those reports are false.
“Absolutely no. I’m here. I’m serving. They’ve been writing the story that I’m leaving the Department of Energy for nine months now,” he said. “One of these days they will probably get it right, but it’s not today, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not next month,” Perry added.
The Department of Energy has also denied reports of Perry’s departure.