Perry denies quid pro quo was part of 'transparency' pressure on Ukraine

Perry denies quid pro quo was part of 'transparency' pressure on Ukraine
© Getty Images

Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch MORE on Friday denied that there was any quid pro quo in his dealings with Ukraine, telling Fox News the name Biden never came up in his discussion with the county’s leaders even if transparency measures did.

“There was no quid pro quo in the sense of what those folks out there would like for it to be,” Perry told Fox’s Bill Hemmer. “That we’re [not] going to give you this money unless you investigate Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe Trump outraises Biden in July, surpasses billion for the cycle Duckworth: Republican coronavirus package would 'gut' Americans With Disabilities Act MORE and his son. I never heard that said, anywhere, anytime, in any conversation.”

ADVERTISEMENT
President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE is currently the subject of an impeachment inquiry investigating whether he withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to pressure authorities to investigate Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden previously served on the board of. 

Perry confirmed previous reports that he influenced Trump to take the controversial call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that spurred the inquiry.

“Absolutely,” Perry said. “When I saw the president I said ‘Mr. President, it's time to make this phone call.’ ”

Perry said his goal was to “get Ukraine back in the sphere of influence in the United States” and acknowledged there were conditions to further American involvement.

“They have to do some things. They have to show us they're going to respect the rule of law, you're going to be transparent, they're going to unbundle their midstream gas company. All of those things were part of him coming in. And I think that's completely and absolutely legitimate. That's what we're supposed to be doing,” Perry said.

Perry said tackling corruption issues was a central tenet of Zelensky’s campaign and those efforts featured prominently in his discussion with Ukrainian leaders.

“President Trump wasn’t going to send American money to a country that had a history of being corrupt,” Perry said.

Perry also said he had no problem with the involvement of Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  Trump campaign seeks debate in early September Nunes declines to answer if he received information from Ukraine lawmaker meant to damage Biden MORE, the president’s personal attorney, in Ukraine matters, saying he has often relied on outside experts for help.

“You know, I respect the State Department, but I happen to know people in the energy industry that are smarter than the State Department folks. I didn't see a problem with that at all,” Perry said.

Perry is facing a deadline today to turn over documents as part of a subpoena from House Democrats, and the secretary was still unsure whether he would comply.

“Our general counsel is taking a look at that right now,” he said. “And when they send their answer and at the end of the day, whatever their decision will be, I'll follow that.”

News of Perry’s departure from the Trump administration broke late Thursday, but Perry denied the Ukraine investigation had anything to do with his resignation, which had been rumored for months.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with Ukraine,” Perry said, adding he was eager to get back to Texas and “the next adventure in life.”

He said he was proud of his work helping to bring American natural gas into Europe and “being able to make nuclear cool again.”