On Friday, news broke that former Governor of Texas, now Trump’s Secretary of Energy, was planning to resign from office as early as next month.
This comes on the heels of news that Trump extorted Ukraine in exchange for dirt on political rival and former Vice President, Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
No one really knew the real reason Perry had decided to resign, but it was pretty easy to hazard a guess with all of this impeachment news. Turns out, the reason he’s leaving is that he was just busted in some pretty sordid activity with Ukraine!
According to The Associated Press:
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.
Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.
The report continues:
On Friday, according to the news site Axios, Trump told a group of Republican lawmakers that it had been Perry who had prompted the phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for a “favor” regarding Biden. Axios cited a source saying Trump said Perry had asked Trump to make the call to discuss “something about an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant.”
While it’s unclear whether Trump’s remark Friday referred specifically to the behind-the-scenes maneuvers this spring involving the multibillion-dollar state gas company, The Associated Press has interviewed four people with direct knowledge of the attempts to influence Naftogaz, and their accounts show Perry playing a key role in the effort. Three of the four spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The fourth is an American businessman with close ties to the Ukrainian energy sector.
AP’s report also states that it’s “unclear if Perry’s attempts to replace board members at Naftogaz were coordinated with the Giuliani allies pushing for a similar outcome, and no one has alleged that there is criminal activity in any of these efforts. And it’s unclear what role, if any, Giuliani had in helping his clients push to get gas sales agreements with the state-owned company,” but the timing certainly seems suspect.
In May, Rick Perry traveled to Kyiv to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at the inauguration of the county’s new president.
In a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed the Ukrainian president to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Attendees left the meeting with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former diplomat and energy representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone “reputable in Republican circles,” according to someone who was in the room.
Three other men with ties to Trump, Republican donors Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III, were at the center of the Naftogaz operation.
The report goes on to say that,
‘Trump reportedly told House Republicans on Friday that Perry prompted the phone call with Zelensky.
“‘The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG [liquified natural gas] plant,” Trump reportedly said.’
Perry’s spokesperson claims that while Perry did indeed prompt Trump to make the call, it was because he wanted Trump to “discuss matters related to their energy security and economic development.”
This story is still unfolding. We will keep you updated as we get more news.
Featured image via screenshot.