Energy Department agrees to begin releasing Ukraine-related records

Energy Department agrees to begin releasing Ukraine-related records

The Energy Department on Monday agreed to begin releasing a cache of Ukraine-related records, including former Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick Perry4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch Texas cities say state is making pandemic worse Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Ernest Moniz MORE’s communications with high-level Ukrainian officials, according to a joint status report filed in a Washington, D.C., court.

The agreement came in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by American Oversight, an ethics watchdog group. The group in October sued the department in an attempt to gain access to documents relating to Perry’s communications with key Trump administration and Ukrainian officials. It also sought records relating to the department’s contacts with President TrumpDonald John TrumpProgressive group launches M pro-Biden ad buy targeting young voters Ilhan Omar: GOP response to calls for police reform 'was vicious' White House considers sweeping travel ban on members, families of the Chinese Communist Party: report MORE’s attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiOusted Manhattan prosecutor Geoffrey Berman to teach at Stanford Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself Davis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance MORE.

The DOE agreed to start releasing documents relating to Perry’s communications with his former chief of staff Brian McCormack by Jan. 28. The first set of documents will also include records relating to the presidential delegation Perry led to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration last May. 

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Another package of documents, focused in part on Perry's and McCormack's communications with Giuliani, are scheduled to be released on Feb. 4. A third cache of Ukraine-related documents will be released by March 16. 

“American Oversight followed proper legal procedures that the Department will honor," DOE press secretary Shaylyn Hynes said in statement to The Hill.

Perry and Giuliani have become key figures in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine. The inquiry primarily focused on allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to announce politically advantageous investigations and that he used military aid as a source of leverage.

The House in December voted to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 

Perry, who stepped down as Energy secretary late last year, faced a House subpoena in October after media reports raised questions about his involvement in Trump's dealings with Ukraine. 

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CNN reported in October that Trump directed Perry and multiple State Department officials to talk with Giuliani about matters pertaining to Ukraine. Trump also told House Republicans during a conference call that he made the infamous July 25 phone call with Zelensky after a request from Perry, according to Axios

Perry refused to comply with a House subpoena before departing the administration. Department of Energy press secretary Shaylyn Hynes wrote in a statement to The Hill in November that Perry would "not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition."

She argued on Monday that the department did not respond to a House subpoena because lawmakers "subpoenaed the Department for documents without proper authorization, ignoring its own rules."

UPDATED 10:51 p.m.