Energy Secretary Rick Perry insisted Friday his resignation has "absolutely nothing" to do with President Donald Trump's July 25 Ukraine call, and he had never heard at any time a mention of a quid pro quo linking the release of military aid to an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
"I've been looking back to Texas on a regular basis to Round Top, Texas, my wife, my dogs and going on to the next adventure in life," Perry told Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "I had a number of things I really wanted to get done before I departed and came back to Texas."
However, "folks out there" want there to have been a threat of holding back the funding, said Perry, but "I never heard that said anywhere, any time, in any conversation."
The administration has been working to get Ukraine back into the "sphere of influence of the United States," said Perry, and that meant to get rid of corruption in Ukraine.
"The oligarchs and people in that country were corrupt," he said, pointing out Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ran on that concept.
"We had those conversations with him," Perry said. "(I) never heard the Biden name."
Perry insisted the Biden name did not come up at the White House, but corruption did.
"We heard that in almost every conversation we had, talking about Ukraine and whether or not President Zelenskiy was going to come over here, because President (Donald) Trump wasn't going to send American money to a country that had a history of being corrupt," Perry said. "He was hammering that and we hammered that."
Perry also admitted he "absolutely" was the one to push Trump to make the July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, where Biden's name did come up.
"I pushed on him a lot to make that phone call because I became convinced that Zelenskiy, the people around him, were legitimately trying to get rid of the corruption and get off the Russian gas," Perry said. "I called multiple times and said you know, whether it was to John Bolton, to whether it was Mick Mulvaney when I saw the president I said 'Mr. President, it's time to make this phone call.'"
He also said he believes the work in Ukraine has been "absolutely legitimate," in showing Europe it could count on American companies and not be "held hostage by Russian gas."
Meanwhile, Perry has a subpoena deadline on Friday for documents related to the Ukraine investigation, but he did not know if he would participate.
"Our general counsel is taking a look at that right now," Perry said. "When they send their answer in at the end of the day, whatever their decision will be, I'll follow that."
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