October 5, 2019
Two news media outlets — both claiming anonymous sources — say on Saturday that President Donald Trump has said that he made a phone call to Ukraine’s president at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, with one outlet saying it was a “call Trump claimed he didn’t even want to make,” as part of Perry’s hope that Ukraine will alter the way it manages its oil and gas interests.
The Ukraine phone call is, of course, the center of controversy that ostensibly led to an impeachment inquiry by Congressional Democrats.
There have been rumors reported over the past week that Perry intends to step down from his post as Secretary of Energy as early as next month.
According to Axios, “President 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 — a call Trump claimed he didn’t even want to make.”
And Politico reports that “Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged Ukraine’s president to root out corruption and pushed the new government for changes at its state-run oil and gas company, people familiar with his work said Friday — indications that he was more deeply involved than previously known in President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure officials in Kiev.
“The people said they have no indication that Perry explicitly called on Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the issue that has spawned a House impeachment inquiry into Trump,” Politico said.
“But at the very least, they said, Perry played an active role in the Trump administration’s efforts to shape decisions by the newly elected government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.”
To Ukrainian officials, “Perry also called for shaking up Naftogaz to help it cut its reliance on energy supplies from Russia and open itself up for more investment from the U.S., people familiar with the discussions told Politico.
“Specifically, Perry pushed [Ukranian energy company] Naftogaz to expand its supervisory board [to include two American energy executives] — [the board is] a three-person entity that now includes Amos Hochstein, a former Biden aide and State Department energy official currently working for the [Houston-based] U.S. liquefied natural gas company Tellurian.
“The other two members are Bruno Lescoeur, a former executive in charge of international affairs at the French energy company Engie, and Clare Spottiswoode, director of London-based advisory Gas Strategies.”