President Trump has reportedly tried to pin the explosive Ukraine call at the center of an impeachment inquiry on Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Citing three sources said to have been on a conference call between Trump and House Republicans on Friday, Axios reports that the president claimed Perry had asked him to make the July phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that sparked a whistleblower complaint.
Trump reportedly claimed that he did not even want to call Zelensky, but said Perry had wanted him to inquire about a liquified natural gas plant.
Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry for allegedly using that phone call to pressure Zelensky to pursue an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and his son’s ties to a major Ukrainian gas company.
Trump’s new claim is contradicted by text messages released earlier this week between top U.S. diplomats and Andrey Yermak, an aide to Zelensky, which suggests Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was a primary advocate for arranging the call.