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    Energy Secretary Rick Perry listens to a statement by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., on TV monitor, during a hearing about the electrical grid, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017

    Trump Says Rick Perry Convinced Him to Call Zelensky in July - Reports

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – US President Donald Trump claims he had the controversial phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky at the request of US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who headed a US delegation to Ukraine in May, US media report.

    Trump had a conference call with US House of Representatives members on Friday, saying that his July conversation with Zelensky was "perfect," Axios media reported on Saturday citing three sources.

    According to one of the sources, Trump said "something to the effect of: ‘Not a lot of people know this but, I didn't even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick [Perry] asked me to. Something about an LNG [liquefied natural gas] plant.’"

    Perry is reportedly planning to resign by the end of this year.

    On September 24, congressional Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    The inquiry was initiated after a whistleblower sent a complaint to Congress, saying Trump pressed Zelensky to investigate possible corruption by 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden and threatened withholding US military aid to Ukraine. Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations.

    Perry’s spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes, told Axios on Saturday that the US Energy Secretary had supported and encouraged Trump to speak to Zelensky and to discuss energy security and economic development.

    The full transcript of Trump’s phone conversation with Zelensky has been published, after both Trump and Ukrainian authorities authorized the release.

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    Donald Trump, Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine, USA
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