Report: Trump pins Ukraine call on Energy Secretary

Trump reportedly said he made phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump told House Republicans that he made his now infamous phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry and did not even want to make the call, Axios reported on Saturday.

Trump made these comments during a conference call with House members on Friday, according to three sources who were on the call.

The sources told Axios that Trump said that his call with Zelensky was "perfect" and he did nothing wrong.

He then threw Perry into the mix and said something to the effect of, "Not a lot of people know this but, I didn't even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG [liquified natural gas] plant," one source said, recalling the president's comments.

Two other sources confirmed the first source's recollection.

The president's remarks suggest he may be seeking to distance himself from responsibility or recast the pretext for the call.

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Another source on the call said Trump added that "more of this will be coming out in the next few days", referring to Perry.

Axios noted that Perry, who is reportedly resigning by the end of this year, has become increasingly embroiled in congressional Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

In May, Perry led a US delegation to Ukraine for Zelensky’s inauguration in place of Vice President Mike Pence, and Democrats have begun to press Perry for more information about the trip and his conversations with Ukrainian leaders.

However, Perry told the Christian Broadcasting Network on Friday that, "as God is my witness," neither Joe or Hunter Biden's name ever came up.

Perry's spokeswoman, Shaylyn Hynes, told Axios, “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."

"He continues to believe that there is significant need for improved regional energy security—which is exactly why he is heading to Lithuania tonight to meet with nearly 2 dozen European energy leaders (including Ukraine) on these issues,” Haynes added.

The White House acknowledged the conference call in a Friday readout that said participants included Minority Leader McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise, Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, and GOP leaders on key House committees. The readout makes no mention of Rick Perry.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last week that formal impeachment proceedings would be launched against Trump over allegations that he threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine unless its government investigated actions by Biden.

Subsequently, the White House released the full, unredacted transcript of Trump's phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump brought up the matter of allegations against Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said. Zelensky responded that he would appoint a new prosecutor general who would look into the matter of the company Hunter Biden had been on the board of.