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

Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Ernest Moniz Trump issues executive order to protect power grid from attack Why we need to transition, quickly, from fossil fuels to clean energy MORE urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally 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 BidenProsecutor investigating whether Tara Reade gave false testimony as expert witness Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally George Floyd's sister says Minneapolis officers should be charged with murder 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.