A letter sent to Energy Secretary Rick Perry Tuesday draws attention to the official’s role in U.S.-Ukrainian dealings, a position that has largely flown under the radar amid all the other explosive revelations in the unfurling scandal.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent the Tuesday letter specifically seeking information about the Perry’s trip to Ukraine in May 2019, when he led a U.S. delegation.
The letter cites the portion of the whistleblower complaint detailing that Perry “made clear” to Ukrainian officials that President Donald Trump was holding back until he could assess how Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would act in office.
Menendez goes on to ask if Perry ever conveyed messages to Zelensky about “corruption” or investigating Trump’s political opponents and their family members. He also requests any knowledge Perry had of Trump’s habit of storing politically embarrassing phone calls with world leaders behind codeword clearance in an NSC database.
According to Politico, Perry became a point person in Ukraine after crafting a deal to export U.S. coal there and slacken Russia’s grip on fuel resources. He has also served as an envoy to Saudi Arabia, diplomatic activities that are unusual for the secretary of Energy.
Menendez sent a similar letter to Vice President Mike Pence on the same day, homing in on the cancellation of his trip to Zelensky’s inauguration that reportedly came on Trump’s orders.
Read Menendez’s letter here: