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Rick Perry Subpoenaed

Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515

October 10, 2019

VIA U.S. AND ELECTRONIC MAIL

The Honorable James Richard “Rick” Perry

Secretary

Department of Energy

1000 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20585

Dear Secretary Perry:

Pursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, we are hereby transmitting a subpoena that compels you to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by October 18, 2019.

This subpoena is being issued by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence under the Rules of the House of Representatives in exercise of its oversight and legislative jurisdiction and after consultation with the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Oversight and Reform. The subpoenaed documents shall be collected as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry and shared among the Committees, as well as with the Committee on the Judiciary as appropriate.1 Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena, including at the direction or behest of the President or the White House, shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President.

The Committees are investigating the extent to which President Trump jeopardized U.S. national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding a White House meeting with the President of Ukraine and military assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters.

Recently, public reports have raised questions about any role you may have played in conveying or reinforcing the President’s stark message to the Ukrainian President. These reports have also raised significant questions about your efforts to press Ukrainian officials to change the management structure at a Ukrainian state-owned energy company to benefit individuals involved with Rudy Giuliani’s push to get Ukrainian officials to interfere in our 2020 election.

Background

In September 2018, Congress appropriated $250 million to the Department of Defense for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative for fiscal year 2019.2 In its Committee report authorizing the appropriation, the Senate Committee on Armed Services wrote:

The committee remains deeply concerned by the continuing aggression of Russia and Russian-led separatist forces in Ukraine. The committee welcomes the delivery of Javelin Missiles and Javelin Command Launch Units to Ukraine, which sends a strong signal of the United States’ commitment to the defense of allies and partners. The committee continues to emphasize the importance of providing security assistance and intelligence support, including defensive lethal assistance, to the Government of Ukraine to build its capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.3

On February 28 and May 23, 2019, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John C. Rood notified Congressional chairs that the Department of Defense intended to release large tranches of this military aid to Ukraine.4 The Congressional committees approved the defense assistance shortly after each notification. On June 18, 2019, the Defense Department announced that it was finalizing $250 million in security cooperation funds to Ukraine.5

According to multiple press reports, at some point in July 2019, President Trump ordered Acting Chief of Staff and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney to freeze the military aid to Ukraine, and Mr. Mulvaney reportedly conveyed the President’s order “through the budget office to the Pentagon and the State Department, which were told only that the administration was looking at whether the spending was necessary.”6

According to press reports, “Administration officials were instructed to tell lawmakers that the delays were part of an ‘interagency process’ but to give them no additional information.”7 Officials at the Departments of State and Defense reportedly were “puzzled and alarmed” after learning about the White House’s directive. Defense Department officials reportedly “tried to make a case to the White House that the Ukraine aid was effective and should not be looked at in the same manner as other aid,” but “those arguments were ignored.” State and Defense Department officials reportedly contacted Congress to inform them of the freeze imposed by the White House.8

On July 25, 2019, President Trump had a telephone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. According to the record of the call that has now been made public, President Trump urged the Ukrainian President to launch an investigation into former Vice President Biden immediately after the Ukrainian President inquired about the status of the U.S. military assistance, including his desire to procure U.S.-manufactured Javelin missiles.9

According to the record, immediately after President Zelensky mentioned his desire to obtain Javelin missiles, President Trump stated, “I would like you to do us a favor though.” He also stated, “I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.” He also said:

There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.10

On July 25, 2019, Kurt Volker, the Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, sent a text message to Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Andrey Yermak before the call between President Trump and President Zelensky. Ambassador Volker wrote:

Heard from White House—assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / “get to the bottom of what happened” in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.11

Last week, Senator Ron Johnson publicly stated that in August 2019, he was informed by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, that if Ukraine would “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016—if President Trump has that confidence, then he’ll release the military spending.” Senator Johnson stated: “At that suggestion, I winced.” He also stated: “My reaction was: Oh, God. I don’t want to see those two things combined.”12

As you are aware, the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 authorizes the President to withhold the obligation of funds only “(1) to provide for contingencies; (2) to achieve savings made possible by or through changes in requirements or greater efficiency of operations; or (3) as specifically provided by law.” The President is required to submit a special message to Congress with information about the proposed deferral of funds.13

On August 30, 2019, Chairman Adam Smith and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry of the House Committee on Armed Services wrote a letter to Mr. Mulvaney requesting information regarding why military assistance to Ukraine was being withheld and when it would be released. They wrote: “This funding is critical to the accomplishment of U.S. national security objectives in Europe.”14 Two days later, on September 1, Ambassador William “Bill” Taylor, the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, sent a text message to Ambassador Volker and Ambassador Sondland, asking, “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH [White House] meeting are conditioned on investigations?”15

On September 3, 2019, a bipartisan group of Senators—including Senators Rob Portman, Jeanne Shaheen, Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, and Ron Johnson—wrote a letter requesting that OMB release the military assistance to Ukraine that the Trump Administration was withholding:

The funds designated for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative are vital to the long term viability of the Ukrainian military. It has helped Ukraine develop the independent military capabilities and skills necessary to fend off the Kremlin’s continued onslaughts within its territory. In fact, Ukraine continues to fight daily on its eastern border against Russia-backed separatists in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, and over 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have lost their lives in this war. U.S.-funded security assistance has already helped turn the tide in this conflict, and it is necessary to ensure the protection of the sovereign territory of this young country, going forward.16

On September 5, 2019, Chairman Eliot L. Engel and Ranking Member Michael McCaul of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs wrote a letter to OMB urging the Trump Administration to lift its hold on security assistance funds to support Ukraine, writing: “These funds, which were appropriated by Congress as Foreign Military Financing and as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and signed into law by the President, are essential to advancing U.S. national security interests.”17

On September 9, 2019, the Committees on Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight wrote to the White House requesting documents related to “the actual or potential suspension of security assistance to Ukraine.”18 The White House never responded to this request. However, two days later, on September 11, 2019, the White House released its hold on the military assistance to Ukraine.19

On September 24, 2019, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that, although he was “very actively involved in advocating the aid,” he “was not given an explanation” about why it was being withheld, even though he talked to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State. He stated: “I have no idea what precipitated the delay.”20

Reports Relating to Your Involvement During This Period

On October 4, 2019, President Trump reportedly “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.”21

In May 2019, you attended President Zelensky’s inauguration in place of Vice President Mike Pence, who reportedly was ordered by President Trump not to attend.22

On May 23, 2019, you attended a meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump, Ambassador Sondland, and Ambassador Volker. According to written testimony submitted by Ambassador Volker, President Trump called Ukraine a corrupt country full of “terrible people” and claimed that “they tried to take me down.”23

According to press reports, President Trump directed you and State Department officials “to deal with his private attorney Rudy Giuliani when the Ukrainian President sought to meet Trump, in a clear circumvention of official channels.” The President reportedly expressed that “if President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted to meet with him, Giuliani would have to be convinced first.”24

In June 2019, you reportedly attended a dinner with President Zelensky, President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and other U.S. officials.25 On September 1, 2019, you attended the bilateral meeting between President Zelensky and Vice President Pence in Poland.26 On September 25, 2019, you attended a meeting between President Trump and President Zelensky. According to press accounts of that meeting, “The message from Perry to Zelensky, according to one person familiar with the discussions, was: ‘You’ve got to take steps on your anti-corruption efforts.’”27

During your extensive interactions with Ukrainian officials, you also reportedly “pressed the Ukrainian president to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board” and “made clear” to Ukrainian officials and energy sector officials “that the Trump administration wanted to see the entire Naftogaz supervisory board replaced.” You reportedly gave President Zelensky a list of potential board members, including Michael Bleyzer, who “donated $20,000 to Perry’s reelection campaign” in 2010, and Robert Bensh, “another Texan who frequently works in Ukraine.”28

According to press reports, your efforts raised questions about whether you were “seeking to provide certain Americans help in gaining a foothold in the Ukrainian energy business at a time when the new Ukrainian government was looking to the United States for signals of support in its simmering conflict with Russia.”29

The proposal to install new board members at Naftogaz was reportedly promoted by three donors to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign: “two Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.” According to these reports, their plan was to “steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies. In service of these efforts, Mr. Parnas, Mr. Fruman, and Mr. Sargeant also touted “a plan to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the company.”30

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman are also “clients of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.” When Mr. Giuliani was asked about efforts to install new members on Naftogaz’s board, he responded, “I may or may not know anything about it.”31

Throughout this period, Mr. Parnas, Mr. Fruman, and Mr. Sargeant reportedly “touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company.” They also “appear to have had inside knowledge of the U.S. government’s plans in Ukraine.”32 For example, “Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman boasted that they had worked with Mr. Giuliani to force the recall this spring of the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch.”33

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman reportedly “told people that Trump would replace the U.S. ambassador there months before she was actually recalled to Washington.” When Mr. Giuliani was asked about whether he was involved with this effort to recall the Ambassador to Ukraine, he responded, “I did play a role in that.”34

In addition, during this same time period, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman reportedly were “assisting Giuliani’s push to get Ukrainian officials to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, as well as Giuliani’s claim that Democrats conspired with Ukrainians in the 2016 campaign.”35

Subpoena for Documents

On October 2, 2019, you stated publicly, “We’re going to work with Congress and answer all their questions.”36 The enclosed subpoena demands documents that are necessary for the Committees to examine this sequence of these events and the reasons behind the White House’s decision to withhold critical military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated by Congress to counter Russian aggression.

Please contact staff for the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence at (202) 225-7690 to arrange for the production of documents.

Sincerely,


A signature: Eliot L. Engel.
Eliot L. Engel
Chairman
House Committee on Foreign Affairs

A signature: Adam Schiff.
Adam B. Schiff
Chairman
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

A signature: Elijah E. Cummings.
Elijah E. Cummings
Chairman
House Committee on Oversight and Reform

Enclosures

cc:
The Honorable Michael McCaul, Ranking Member House Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Honorable Devin Nunes, Ranking Member House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
The Honorable Jim Jordan, Ranking Member House Committee on Oversight and Reform

1 See Letter from Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Committee on the Judiciary, to Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Committee on Financial Services; Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Committee on Oversight and Reform; and Chairman Eliot L. Engel, Committee on Foreign Affairs (Aug. 22, 2019) (online at https://judiciary.house.gov/sites/democrats.judiciary.house.gov/files/documents/FiveChairsLetter8.22.pdf).

2 Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019, Pub. L. No. 115-245 at § 9013 (2018).

3 Senate Committee on Armed Services, Report to Authorize Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2019 for Military Activities of the Department of Defense and for Military Construction, to Prescribe Military Personnel Strengths for Such Fiscal Year, and for Other Purposes (Sen. Rpt. 115-262) (June 5, 2018) (online at www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CRPT-115srpt262/html/CRPT-115srpt262.htm).

4 Letter from John C. Rood, Under Secretary for Policy, Department of Defense, to Congressional Chairmen (May 23, 2019) (online at https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6430088/Pentagon-Letter-On-Ukraine-Aid.pdf).

5 Department of Defense, Press Release: DOD Announces $250M to Ukraine (June 18, 2019) (online at www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/1879340/dod-announces-250m-to-ukraine/).

6 Trump Said to Have Frozen Aid to Ukraine Before Call with Its Leader, New York Times (Sept. 23, 2019) (online at www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/us/politics/trump-un-biden-ukraine.html).

7 Trump Ordered Hold on Military Aid Days Before Calling Ukrainian President, Officials Say, Washington Post (Sept. 23, 2019) (online at www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/trump-ordered-hold-on-military-aid-days-before-calling-ukrainian-president-officials-say/2019/09/23/df93a6ca-de38-11e9-8dc8-498eabc129a0_story.html).

8 Trump Said to Have Frozen Aid to Ukraine Before Call with Its Leader, New York Times (Sept. 23, 2019) (online at www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/us/politics/trump-un-biden-ukraine.html).

9 The White House, Memorandum of Telephone Conversation (July 25, 2019) (online at www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Unclassified09.2019.pdf).

10 Id

11 Text Message from Kurt Volker, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, to Andrey Yermak, Advisor to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky (July 25, 2019) (online at https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/Chairmen%20Letter%20on%20State%20Department%20Texts%2010-03-19.pdf).

12 Trump, in August Call with GOP Senator, Denied Official’s Claim on Ukraine Aid, Wall Street Journal (Oct. 4, 2019) (online at www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-used-potential-meeting-to-pressure-ukraine-on-biden-texts-indicate-11570205661).

13 2 U.S.C. § 684.

14 Letter from Chairman Adam Smith and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry, Committee on Armed Services, to Mick Mulvaney, Director, Office of Management and Budget (Aug. 30, 2019).

15 Text Message from William Taylor, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, to Gordon Sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt Volker, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations (Sept. 1, 2019) (online at https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/Chairmen%20Letter%20on%20State%20Department%20Texts%2010-03-19.pdf).

16 Letter from Senators Rob Portman, Jeanne Shaheen, Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, and Ron Johnson, to Mick Mulvaney, Director, Office of Management and Budget (Sept. 3, 2019) (online at www.portman.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/portman-shaheen-lead-bipartisan-ukraine-caucus-leadership-letter-urging).

17 Letter from Chairman Eliot L. Engel and Ranking Member Michael McCaul, Committee on Foreign Affairs, to Mick Mulvaney, Director, and Russell Vought, Acting Director, Office of Management and Budget (Sept 5, 2019).

18 Letter from Chairman Eliot L. Engel, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chairman Adam Schiff, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Committee on Oversight and Reform, to Secretary Mike Pompeo, Department of State (Sept. 9, 2019) (online at https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/_cache/files/a/d/adle0561-2252-4f7c-97ad-f649db558c83/1F587BDDA9087BEDDEE8D45A8F92C370.test.ele-schiff-cummings-letter-to-sec-pompeo-on-ukraine-002-.pdf).

19 Trump Administration Backs Off Hold on Ukraine Military Aid, Politico (Sept. 12, 2019) (online at www.politico.com/story/2019/09/12/trump-administration-ukraine-military-aid-3825755).

20 McConnell: ‘I Was Not Given an Explanation’ for Ukraine Aid Delay, The Hill (Sept. 24, 2019) (online at https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/462828-mcconnell-i-was-not-given-an-explanation-for-ukraine-aid-delay).

21 Scoop: Trump Pins Ukraine Call on Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Axios (Oct. 5, 2019) (online at www.axios.com/trump-blamed-rick-perry-call-ukraine-zelensky-8178447a-0374-4ac6-b321-a9454b0565d4.html).

22 Department of Energy, Readout of Secretary Perry’s Delegation Visit to the Inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (May 21, 2019) (online at www.energy.gov/articles/readout-secretary-perry-s-delegation-visit-inauguration-ukrainian-president-volodymyr); Trump Involved Pence in Efforts to Pressure Ukraine’s Leader, Though Officials Say Vice President Was Unaware of Allegations in Whistleblower Complaint, Washington Post (Oct. 2, 2019) (online at www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-involved-pence-in-efforts-to-pressure-ukraines-leader-though-aides-say-vice-president-was-unaware-of-pursuit-of-dirt-on-bidens/2019/10/02/263aa9e2-e4a7-11e9-b403-f738899982d2_story.html).

23 Kurt Volker, Former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Written Testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Committee on Oversight (Oct. 3, 2019) (online at https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/Volker%20Testimony%20Long%20Form.pdf).

24 Trump Told Perry and State Department Officials as Early as May to Talk to Giuliani about Ukraine, CNN (Oct. 8, 2019) (online at www.cnn.com/2019/10/08/politics/trump-perry-giuliani-state-department/index.html).

25 Perry Pressed Ukraine on Corruption, Energy Company Changes, Politico (Oct. 5, 2019) (online at www.politico.com/news/2019/10/05/rick-perry-ukraine-trump-030230).

26 The White House, Remarks by Vice President Pence and President Duda of Poland in Joint Press Conference, Warsaw, Poland (Sept. 2, 2019) (online at www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-president-duda-poland-joint-press-conference-warsaw-poland).

27 Perry Pressed Ukraine on Corruption, Energy Company Changes, Politico (Oct. 5, 2019) (online at www.politico.com/news/2019/10/05/rick-perry-ukraine-trump-030230).

28 Profits, Not Politics: Trump Allies Sought Ukraine Gas Deal, Associated Press (Oct. 7, 2019) (online at https://apnews.com/d7440cffba4940f5b85cd3dfa3500fb2).

29 Rick Perry’s Focus on Gas Company Entangles Him in Ukraine Case, New York Times (Oct. 7, 2019) (online at www.nytimes.com/2019/10/07/us/politics/rick-perry-ukraine.html).

30 Profits, Not Politics: Trump Allies Sought Ukraine Gas Deal, Associated Press (Oct. 7, 2019) (online at https://apnews.com/d7440cffba4940f5b85cd3dfa3500fb2).

31 Perry Pressed Ukraine on Corruption, Energy Company Changes, Politico (Oct. 5, 2019) (online at www.politico.com/news/2019/10/05/rick-perry-ukraine-trump-030230).

32 Profits, Not Politics: Trump Allies Sought Ukraine Gas Deal, Associated Press (Oct. 7, 2019) (online at https://apnews.com/d7440cffba4940f5b85cd3dfa3500fb2).

33 Rick Perry’s Focus on Gas Company Entangles Him in Ukraine Case, New York Times (Oct. 7, 2019) (online at www.nytimes.com/2019/10/07/us/politics/rick-perry-ukraine.html).

34 Profits, Not Politics: Trump Allies Sought Ukraine Gas Deal, Associated Press (Oct. 7, 2019) (online at https://apnews.com/d7440cffba4940f5b85cd3dfa3500fb2).

35 Impeachment Inquiry Puts New Focus on Giuliani’s Work For Prominent Figures in Ukraine, Washington Post (Oct. 2, 2019) (online at www.washingtonpost.com/politics/impeachment-inquiry-puts-new-focus-on-giulianis-work-for-prominent-figures-in-ukraine/2019/10/01/b3c6d08c-e089-11e9-be96-6adb81821e90_story.html).

36 Energy Secretary Rick Perry: “We’re Going to Work with Congress” on Ukraine Probe, CNN (Oct. 2, 2019) (online at www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-impeachment-inquiry-10-02-2019/h_630dedace7306f93b664069b6011863f).