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US Energy Department rejects call for Secretary Perry to testify in impeachment inquiry

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry (U.S. Department of Energy/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. House Of Representatives investigators have called Energy Secretary Rick Perry to testify in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, but his agency quickly said that Perry would not appear.

“The secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present,” spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement on November 1.

An official working on the inquiry earlier told U.S. media that Perry had been asked to appear on November 6.

The White House has ordered current officials not to appear before the Democratic-led investigators, calling the probe illegitimate, although some have done so after receiving congressional subpoenas.

Trump on October 17 said Perry — a key player in the controversy over Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — would soon step down from his position, and he has named a potential replacement.

Investigators have asked Perry to provide documents related to a Ukrainian state-owned oil and gas conglomerate, Naftogaz, as well as his involvement in a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that has become the center of the inquiry.

House Democrats are holding hearings that could lead to the impeachment of Trump over his action to withhold military aid to Ukraine at the same time that he pressed Kyiv to conduct investigations of Democrats and potential 2020 rival Joe Biden, the former U.S. vice president.

Democrats accuse the president of abusing his power to ask another country to interfere in the U.S. political process. Trump denies he did anything wrong.

Based on reporting by Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and AP