Energy Secretary Rick Perry told The Wall Street Journal that President Trump directed him to talk to his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to gain a better understanding of the president’s concerns on Ukraine and reasoning for not meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Perry, who attended Zelensky’s inauguration, pushed for Trump to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart in a May meeting. But Trump told Perry that he wasn’t going to meet with Zelensky until his concerns about Ukraine were settled. According to Perry, Trump said he wasn’t “comfortable” that the Ukrainians had “straightened up their act”—which Perry later understood to be related to Trump’s 2016 campaign. “Visit with Rudy,” Trump told Perry.
Perry then called Giuliani, who told him that Trump was “‘really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him during this presidential election.’” “‘[Trump] thinks they’re corrupt and… that there are still people over there engaged that are absolutely corrupt,’” Giuliani said, according to Perry. The energy secretary said he never heard anyone discuss the prospect of Ukraine investigating corruption allegations against former vice president Joe Biden and his son, nor did he recall Giuliani specifically listing demands for the country to act on.
However, Perry said Giuliani blamed Ukraine for the infamous Steele dossier that outlined Trump’s connections to Russia. Giuliani also asserted to Perry that Hillary Clinton’s email server, along with other “dreamed up” evidence, helped put ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort behind bars. “I don’t know whether that was crap or what, but I’m just saying there were three things that he said. That’s the reason the president doesn’t trust these guys,” Perry said.