House calls Rick Perry to testify; Dept. of Energy says he ‘will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition’

Savannah Behrmann


Published 8: 43 PM EDT Nov 1, 2019

WASHINGTON – Energy Secretary Rick Perry will not appear after being called to testify by House lawmakers next Wednesday in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Shaylyn Hynes, an Energy Department spokeswoman, told USA TODAY Friday that the Secretary would not show up for a closed-door hearing, but would consider testifying publicly, saying, “The Secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present.”

“If the committee is interested in conducting a serious proceeding they are welcome to  send for the Secretary’s consideration an invitation to participate in an open hearing where the Department’s counsel can be present and the American people can witness,” Hynes concluded.

Perry, part of the president’s original Cabinet, told Trump a few weeks ago he would resign and is expected to leave the post by the year’s end. 

Perry has come under scrutiny amid the ongoing impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to help to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, one of his top political rivals.

He rejected a subpoena earlier in October to turn over documents related to Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump pushed for an investigation of Biden and Biden’s son Hunter, who once had business interests in Ukraine. 

Perry led the U.S. delegation to the inauguration of Zelenskiy in the spring.

Acting Director of the White House Budget Office Russell Vought, State Department counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale also have been asked to testify on Wednesday, according to an official. 

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Multiple administration officials have testified over the past few weeks in the investigation.

Trump has repeatedly said that there was no quid pro quo, and Republicans have bemoaned and protested the process thus far, calling it unfair. The impeachment investigation and testimonies have been conducted in private, and both Democrats and Republicans have been present for the closed-door testimonies. Public hearings will likely begin later this month as the House voted Thursday on a resolution laying out the next phase of the impeachment inquiry.

Contributing: John Fritze, Courtney Subramanian, Nicholas Wu

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