Soon-to-depart Energy Secretary Rick Perry has a new defense for President Trump’s Ukraine quid pro quo.
In an interview with conservative radio personality Hugh Hewitt Wednesday — a day after career diplomat Bill Taylor’s blockbuster congressional testimony undercut Trump’s repeated quid pro quo denials — Perry denied being asked by the President to “do anything illegal or unethical” in the almost three years he worked for him.
Perry further elaborated by claiming that he had “never heard the President say the words ‘Biden.'”
“I never heard the word Biden mentioned, not from him, not from staff, not from the EU ambassador, not from Kurt Volker,” Perry said. “Never one time was that said.”
Perry then echoed Pence’s talking point of discussing efforts to address Ukrainian corruption with Trump.
“We talked about corruption almost every time we had a conversation with the Ukrainians to clean their country up so that we could have confidence that American companies that came there would be treated fairly, openly, transparently,” Perry said.
Perry’s argument is hard to take seriously. Trump has repeatedly targeted Biden by name. After infamously pressuring Ukraine to dig up phony allegations against the Bidens, the President earlier this month also said China should investigate the Bidens.
“Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump told reporters on Oct. 3. “Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”
Earlier this month, the House committees on Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight subpoenaed Perry as part of the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry. Perry had also confirmed that he “absolutely” requested Trump to call the Ukrainian President to ask about how his government was handling corruption.