As more Trump Administration officials did not show up to testify before impeachment investigators in the Congress on Wednesday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry became the first of President Trump's Cabinet to join that growing list, as Democrats say the President and his aides are openly obstructing a Congressional impeachment investigation.
Transcripts from the impeachment investigation show that Perry was working in concert with the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as Giuliani was operating a separate diplomatic effort in Ukraine, apart from State Department officials.
It was also revealed this week that before testimony by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, the two men spoke about events involving Ukraine.
"I have spoken with Secretary Perry on several occasions relating to non-Ukraine business," Sondland told investigators, "and I did ask Secretary Perry to refresh my memory about a couple of meetings. Yes."
Diplomat's testimony shows Rick Perry involved at key junctures of Trump's Ukraine saga https://t.co/Ofqf9TbnJN— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) November 6, 2019
Energy Secretary Rick Perry played a leading role in efforts to operate outside normal diplomatic channels to coordinate White House policy on Ukraine with Rudy Giuliani, according to newly released House impeachment inquiry transcripts. https://t.co/iHKCcknEZv— E&E News (@EENewsUpdates) November 6, 2019
Perry was one of nine different officials from the White House, the State Department, and the Cabinet - in just three days this week - who defied subpoenas for their testimony.
Democrats said if the top officials from the Trump Administration had only testimony which would benefit the President, then they would probably stop at nothing to tell the world that message.
'This will only further add to the body of evidence of a potential obstruction of Congress charge against the President," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is leading the impeachment proceedings at this point in the House.
On Wednesday, only one of four officials showed up to testify; that was David Hale, a top State Department official.
"We wish others would show the same courage and dedication to the law," Schiff told reporters.
Meanwhile, Democrats began to mock GOP lawmakers who had furiously complained about the closed door depositions conducted in recent weeks, arguing that Republicans were saying little about the hundreds and hundreds of pages of testimony released this week.
"We demand transcripts!"— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) November 6, 2019
These transcripts show Trump abused his power.
"We demand other transcripts!"
These transcripts show Trump hurt our national security for personal gain.
"We won't read them!"
"We demand public hearings!"
We'll hold public hearings.
"NO FAIR!" https://t.co/GBEffq8DZb
The White House excuses keep changing.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 4, 2019
First it was: the House hasn't held a vote.
Then, a claim of immunity never upheld by a court.
Now they want their lawyers to participate, which is against the rules Republicans wrote.
It doesn't add up—except as evidence of obstruction. pic.twitter.com/Td5eDbMZOt
Republicans brushed aside such criticism, as they argue that Democrats are wasting the time of the American people.
"This is nothing but a show trial in the U.S. House of Representatives," said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).
"They're trying to undo the free and open election of 2016 that elected Donald Trump to be President of the United States," Perdue added.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.