Energy Secretary Rick Perry will refuse to appear before a closed session of House of Representatives committees investigating President Donald Trump for possible impeachment, an Energy Department spokeswoman said on Friday.
"The Secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present," spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement.
"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," she said.
Perry and White House budget office acting director Russell Vought had been asked to testify next week in the impeachment inquiry.
Perry is the first member of Trump’s Cabinet asked to appear before House investigators.
Both Perry and Vought were asked to appear on Wednesday in closed session.
State Department counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale have also been asked to testify on Wednesday, an unnamed official told Reuters.
House Democrats are pursuing an impeachment inquiry over Trump's actions withholding military aid to Ukraine as he pushed for investigations of Democrats and potential rival Joe Biden.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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