Outgoing U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is one of the latest figures in President Donald Trump’s inner-circle to refuse requests from House Democrats to testify as part of the president’s impeachment inquiry investigation.
According to The Hill, a spokesperson for the secretary not only indicated that Perry would not be testifying in front of any committees next week, but also slammed the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry proceedings.
“The Secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present,” Perry’s secretary Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement to The Hill.
Hynes added that Perry would be more open to the possibility of testifying under certain conditions, echoing demands by other Republicans that the impeachment inquiry process be more transparent and completely open to the American public to witness.
“If the committee is interested in conducting a serious proceeding they are welcome to send for the Secretary’s consideration an invitation to participate in an open hearing where the Department’s counsel can be present and the American people can witness,” Hynes wrote.
The energy secretary and former Texas governor was scheduled to appear for testimony next Wednesday. House Democrats also requested acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought, State Department counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale to join him.
The testimony would have been behind closed doors, which has been a point of contention with the Trump administration since the investigation began.
Perry’s refusal to provide testimony to Democrats came in the wake of his previous refusal to comply with a federal subpoena which included a request for documents related to the investigation into the president’s dealing with Ukraine and its leaders, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.
At the time, Perry’s office blasted Democrats, claiming that his refusal to comply with the document request was based on the lack of a proper House vote on the impeachment inquiry process.
“As the Supreme Court has long recognized, a Congressional committee cannot exercise the investigative power of the full House of Representatives unless it has that power through proper delegation,” a letter from Perry’s office to House Democrats read.
Perry became one of the investigation’s central figures after Trump, at one point, indicated the reason he called the Ukrainian president in the first place was due to Perry’s urging. The energy secretary has previously gone on record to say that he believes there was no quid pro quo between Trump and the Ukrainian president.
As reported by The Inquisitr, in October, Perry reportedly notified the president of his intention to resign from his cabinet position, though no specific date was provided.