Trump impeachment: Energy secretary refuse to cooperate with probe unless he gets ‘open hearing’

‘The Secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present’

Chris Riotta
New York
Saturday 02 November 2019 22:11 GMT
Rick Perry: Trump's energy secretary embroiled in Ukraine scandal resigns

The US energy secretary has said he will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry into ​Donald Trump unless he gets an “open hearing”.

Rick Perry, who has previously ignoring a congressional subpoena to testify before House committees spearheading an investigation into the president’s dealings with Ukraine, once again indicated he would not attend.

“The Secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present,” Shaylyn Hynes, press secretary for the Energy Department, said in a statement.

She added: “If the committee is interested in conducting a serious proceeding they are welcome to send for the Secretary’s consideration an invitation to participate in an open hearing where the Department’s counsel can be present and the American people can witness.”

Mr Perry, who has been accused of being involved in a shadow foreign policy surrounding Ukraine, has announced he would resign from his role in the administration later this year.

Mr Trump encouraged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do a “favour” by opening investigations into Joe Biden and his son, according to a memorandum of the 25 July phone call released by the White House.

The question of whether military aid for Ukraine was withheld in exchange for a “quid pro quo” to probe his political rival is central to the impeachment inquiry against the president.

At the time, Mr Perry was sitting in on meetings among top US officials working on Ukraine relations along with Gordon Sondland, Mr Trump’s US ambassador to the European Union.

Earlier this week Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, an expert on Ukraine on the National Security Council, testified that Mr Sondland implored Ukrainian officials to open the investigations during a 10 July meeting attended by Mr Perry.

“I stated to Ambassador Sondland that his statements were inappropriate; that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security; and that such investigations were not something the [National Security Council] was going to get involved in or push,” Mr Vindman said in his opening statement.

Mr Perry has repeatedly denied Mr Biden or his son were discussed in the meetings he attended,

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