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

Perry denies quid pro quo was part of 'transparency' pressure on Ukraine
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Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerrySondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report Highly irregular: Rudy, the president, and a venture in Ukraine White House releases rough transcript of early Trump-Ukraine call minutes before impeachment hearing 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 BidenSondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report Biden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP MORE and his son. I never heard that said, anywhere, anytime, in any conversation.”

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report 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 GiulianiSondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP Want to fight foreign influence? Fix FARA filings 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.”