Scoop: Trump pins Ukraine call on Energy Secretary Rick Perry
President Trump told House Republicans that he made his now infamous phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry — a call Trump claimed he didn’t even want to make.
Behind the scenes: Trump made these comments during a conference call with House members on Friday, according to 3 sources on the call.
- Per the sources, Trump rattled off the same things he has been saying publicly — that his call with Zelensky was "perfect"and he did nothing wrong.
- But he then threw Perry into the mix and said something to the effect of: "Not a lot of people know this but, I didn't even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG [liquified natural gas] plant," one source said, recalling the president's comments. 2 other sources confirmed the first source's recollection.
Why it matters: The president's remarks suggest he may be seeking to distance himself from responsibility or recast the pretext for the call. White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.
- Another source on the call said Trump added that "more of this will be coming out in the next few days" — referring to Perry.
Worth noting: Text messages released this week between Trump administration officials and Andrey Yermak, a top aide to Zelensky, suggest that Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was a primary advocate for arranging the call.
- There is no mention in the text messages of Perry playing a role in making this call happen.