Spokeswoman: Perry encouraged Trump to focus on energy, economy in Ukraine call

Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryTrump: Senate should decide on witnesses; Bolton testimony poses national security risk Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP MORE urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE to speak to Ukraine's president about issues related to energy and the economy during a call that contributed to the launch of an impeachment inquiry, Perry's spokeswoman told The Hill on Sunday.

"Secretary Perry absolutely supported and encouraged the president to speak to the new president of Ukraine to discuss matters related to their energy security and economic development," Shaylyn Hynes said in an email.

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During that call, Trump encouraged Ukraine's president to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE and his son Hunter Biden, a partial transcript released by the White House showed.

Trump told House Republicans on Friday that Perry arranged the call, according to The Associated Press, which first reported Hynes's comments. The news service added that the secretary has prioritized relations with Ukraine and Eastern Europe throughout his time in Trump's Cabinet to lessen the hold Russia has on the area.

“He continues to believe that there is significant need for improved regional energy security,” Hynes said on Sunday.

Perry asserted in a Friday interview with CBN News that he knew nothing about Trump asking Ukraine to look into the Biden family in the call.

“Not once as God as my witness, not once was a Biden name - not the former vice president, not his son ever mentioned,” Perry said. “Corruption was talked about in the country but it was always a relatively vague term of, you know, the oligarchs and this and that and what have you.” 

--This report was updated at 1:44 p.m.