WASHINGTON – Energy Secretary Rick Perry became the latest member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet to be subpoenaed by House Democrats in the rapidly escalating impeachment inquiry.
Perry on Thursday was subpoenaed by the three House committees — Oversight, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs — leading the investigation into whether Trump abused his power by pushing Ukraine to investigate political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The subpoena demands a number of documents pertaining to Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the president pushed for a Biden investigation, and Perry’s potential role in reinforcing that request during a trip to Ukraine. The committees gave until Oct. 18.
The subpoena also demands documents detailing Perry’s role, outlined in news reports, in changing the management structure at a Ukrainian energy company, a move that may hold benefits for officials working with Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
“Recently, public reports have raised questions about any role you may have played in conveying or reinforcing the President’s stark message to the Ukrainian President,” the chairmen of the committees wrote in the subpoena.
They continued: “These reports have also raised significant questions about your efforts to press Ukrainian officials to change the management structure at a Ukrainian state-owned energy company to benefit individuals involved with Rudy Giuliani’s push to get Ukrainian officials to interfere in our 2020 election.”
Perry first became wrapped up in the impeachment inquiry when he was mentioned in the anonymous whistleblower complaint, which brought Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president to light.
In mid-May, the whistleblower learned from U.S. officials, Trump instructed Vice President Mike Pence to cancel his plans to attend Zelensky’s May 20 inauguration. Perry went instead.
That detail was given in the context of officials telling the whistleblower that it had been “made clear” to them that Trump didn’t want to meet with Zelensky until he saw how the new leader “chose to act” in office.
Last week, Axios reported that Trump blamed Perry for the call with Ukraine’s president, telling Republicans on a conference call that he did not want to make the call but did so at the urging of Perry.
“Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to,” Trump said, according to Axios.
The subpoena is just the latest in list that extends almost daily.
Earlier today, Democrats subpoenaed Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Ukrainian-born business partners who were arrested Thursday on campaign finance charges. The pair were scheduled to appear for depositions Thursday and Friday of this week.
The panels have also subpoenaed the White House, Giuliani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Pentagon, the Office of Management and Budget and Gordon Sondland, a U.S. ambassador involved in the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine, after the State Department blocked his appearance before them.