Energy Secretary Rick Perry was hit with a subpoena by House Democrats on Thursday amidst the party’s ongoing impeachment inquiry regarding President Donald Trump’s alleged abuse of power through his relationship with the Ukrainian president.
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Democratic chairmen of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees issued the subpoena over a number of Ukraine-related documents, with a deadline of October 18.
“Recently, public reports have raised questions about any role you may have played in conveying or reinforcing the President’s stark message to the Ukrainian President,” Representatives Adam Schiff of California, Eliot Engel of New York and Elijah Cummings of Maryland, wrote in a letter addressed to Perry while announcing the subpoena.
“These reports have also raised significant questions about your efforts to press Ukrainian officials to change the management structure at a Ukrainian state-owned energy company to benefit individuals involved with Rudy Giuliani’s push to get Ukrainian officials to interfere in our 2020 election,” the three lawmakers added.
When reached by Fox News about the subpoena DOE Spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said, "The Department of Energy is aware of the House Committees’ letter to Secretary Perry and it is currently under review by DOE's Office of General Counsel."
The subpoena appears to be the most recent salvo in the ever-developing impeachment probe, with Democrats releasing nine subpoenas since the investigation began in late September.
Perry has found himself in the probe’s crosshairs for his part in persuading Trump to speak with the Ukrainian president during a July 25 phone call that is at the root of the impeachment investigation.
During the phone call, Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden, who could be Trump’s rival in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
Democrats are looking into the possibility that Trump offered hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine in exchange for their investigation into Biden. Meanwhile, the president has continued to deny any such quid pro quo deal, instead insisting that he was pushing the country to address its corruption problems.
Regardless, Trump still passed the blame on to the former Texas governor while at a meeting with House Republicans last week, according to an Axios news report. Perry did not deny encouraging Trump to take the phone call with the Ukrainian president, however, he did tell the Associated Press that he was under the impression that the conversation between the two leaders would revolve around “energy security and economic development” and not Joe Biden or potential money for military aid.
Prior to the recent impeachment investigation, Perry had been keeping a low profile while heading the Department of Energy. The 69-year-old Texas native refuted claims in Politico on Monday that he would be leaving his post at the end of November.
Don’t count on Perry cooperating with the Democrats subpoena, however, as White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to House Democrats claiming the impeachment investigation was unconstitutional while telling lawmakers that the White House will not comply with their requests.