President Trump didn't really want to call Ukraine's president in the first place, he has told Republican members of Congress, but Rick Perry wanted him to. Trump told lawmakers this in a conference call Friday, Axios reports, saying that Perry asked him to talk to President Volodymyr Zelensky about a liquefied natural gas plant. The energy secretary, who reportedly plans to resign soon, wasn't mentioned in newly released US-Ukraine texts or the White House's detailing of the July call between Trump and Zelensky. A spokeswoman for Perry said he "absolutely supported and encouraged the president to speak to the new president of Ukraine" about energy and economic matters.
House Democrats are looking into Perry's Ukraine involvement. He was an administration point person on the country, Politico reports, and was active in Trump's attempts to push Ukraine to make changes. Perry delivered the message to do more to eliminate corruption and pressured the state-owned natural gas company to add Americans to its board. He has met with Zelensky and other officials repeatedly since he led the US delegation to Zelensky's inauguration in May. Perry has a trip to Eastern Europe planned this week concerning an energy agreement among the US, Ukraine, and Poland. (Perry was once pranked with a bogus call from Ukraine.)