The Wall Street Journal has a piece on Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and his involvement in Ukraine. A surprising twist emerges – President Trump instructed Perry to “visit with Rudy” about concerns the two had about corruption in Ukraine. During that “visit with Rudy”, Perry was given three reasons why he and Trump were concerned about Ukraine’s commitment to fighting corruption.
“And as I recall the conversation, he said, ‘Look, the president is really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him during this presidential election,’ ” Mr. Perry said. “ ‘He thinks they’re corrupt and…that there are still people over there engaged that are absolutely corrupt.’ ”
Mr. Perry said the president’s lawyer didn’t make any explicit demands on the call. “Rudy didn’t say they gotta do X, Y and Z,” Mr. Perry said. “He just said, ‘You want to know why he ain’t comfortable about letting this guy come in? Here’s the reason.’ ”
In the phone call, Mr. Giuliani blamed Ukraine for the dossier about Mr. Trump’s alleged ties to Russia that was created by a former British intelligence officer, Mr. Perry said, and asserted that Ukraine had Mrs. Clinton’s email server and “dreamed up” evidence that helped send former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to jail.
“I don’t know whether that was crap or what,” Mr. Perry added, “but I’m just saying there were three things that he said. That’s the reason the president doesn’t trust these guys.”
Ukrainian corruption isn’t breaking news. The belief that Hillary’s email server is in Ukraine is a different thing. Rudy and Trump believe that CrowdStrike is mixed up in the DNC hack during the 2016 election. The Ukrainian government hasn’t been proven to be involved with the DNC hack, though Russia has. Trump’s request for Zelensky to look into potential illegal meddling during the 2016 election at the hands of Joe Biden is how the current impeachment inquiry hearings began.
Perry said that Giuliani didn’t make any demands of him. And, he is steering clear of any validation of Rudy’s concerns. Perry finds himself involved in the Congressional investigations. Trump blamed his phone call with Zelensky on Perry. And, when it looked like Trump was throwing Perry under the bus, rumors circulated that Perry has one foot out of the door. Perry said he will cooperate with Congress.
So, Perry is shedding some light on why President Trump doesn’t trust the efforts of Ukraine to make reforms necessary to combat longtime corruption concerns. Rudy Giuliani looks to be the source of Trump’s information on the ground. Rudy is running a shadow diplomacy operation.
As I have written about in previous posts, Rick Perry’s mission is to develop relationships in Ukraine and make mutually beneficial energy deals. It is important for countries that are dependent on Russia as a source of energy to have alternatives, preferably an American alternative. Perry was urging President Trump to develop his own relationship with the new Ukrainian president, who has expressed a desire to make the reforms necessary in his country. Trump, with Rudy in his ear, hesitated to meet with Zelensky until he was more certain that Zelensky was doing all he could.
Meanwhile, Perry is still on the job and expects to be there, at least through Thanksgiving.
Mr. Perry again disputed recent reports that have claimed he was planning to leave the administration, but he did leave the door open to his departure. He said he expects to be at the Energy Department at Thanksgiving, but gave a less definitive answer when asked about staying beyond that, through year’s end.
”I don’t know,” he said. “I’m working at the will of the president, just like I always have.”
We’ll see if he makes it to year’s end.