US Energy Secretary Rick Perry resigns

Trump confirms Rick Perry has resigned from his post. Move comes amid criticism over Perry's conduct in Ukraine affair.

Ben Ariel ,

Rick Perry
Rick Perry

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry resigned from his post on Thursday, US President Donald Trump confirmed.

Speaking to reporters, Trump said he had already picked Perry’s replacement but did not specify who that would be.

“We already have his replacement. Rick has done a fantastic job. But it was time,” Trump said, adding Perry would leave the administration at the end of the year.

"We have the man that we're going -- in this case it's a man that we're going to be putting in Rick's place. We'll be announcing it very shortly," he added.

Earlier, two people familiar with the situation told Politico that Perry had informed Trump on that he would resign his post.

The people, who were not authorized to speak publicly about Perry's resignation, said it was unclear exactly when the former Texas governor would leave the administration.

The news comes after Politico reported earlier this month that Perry planned to step down by the end of this year. He is facing a Friday deadline to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking information on his role in the administration's withholding military aid to Ukraine while it pushed that country’s government officials to investigate allegations of wrongdoings by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

A Department of Energy (DOE) spokesperson declined to comment on Perry’s resignation or whether he would comply with the subpoena by Friday's deadline. DOE had repeatedly said Perry did not plan to step down anytime soon.

Reports earlier this month claimed that Trump had told House Republicans that he made his phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the urging of Perry and did not even want to make the call.

"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," the president reportedly said during a conference call with House members.

The timing of Perry’s departure comes amid growing scrutiny of Trump officials who were involved with Ukraine.

Democrats are pressing forward with witness testimonies as part of their impeachment probe launched in late September.

Multiple witnesses, including top State Department officials who ignored White House directives not to testify, have raised concerns about what they described as a shadow foreign policy conducted outside the normal diplomatic channels.

Perry served 14 years as governor of Texas, and ran in the Republican primaries for presidency in both 2012 and 2016, dropping out both times.