On the heels of a House vote formalizing the impeachment inquiry process, Fox News learned Friday that multiple officials, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, have been called to testify behind closed doors on Wednesday.
Also called to give a deposition are the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought; State Department Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbul; and David Hale. undersecretary of state for political affairs
In response to the deposition request, Perry spokeswoman Shaylyn Hayes said: "The Secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present. If the committee is interested in conducting a serious proceeding they are welcome to send for the Secretary’s consideration an invitation to participate in an open hearing where the Department’s counsel can be present and the American people can witness."
On Oct. 17, Perry told Trump he planned to resign, and Fox News was told it’s likely to happen at the end of the year. Perry has come under scrutiny for the role he played in the president’s dealings with Ukraine, the subject of the impeachment inquiry. House Democrats subpoenaed Perry earlier that day.
Trump has said that Perry was the one who prompted him to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. In that call, it's been alleged that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate political opponent Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Biden business in Ukraine -- all while millions of dollars in military aid to the Ukrainians had been frozen.
Shaylyn Hynes, a spokeswoman for the secretary, said Perry had wanted Trump to speak with the Ukrainian leader on matters related to boosting U.S. energy ties to Eastern Europe, part of a long-term effort to lessen the political control Russia has wielded over the fuel supply.
Perry told The Wall Street Journal the president told him to seek out Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, to look into possible Ukrainian corruption. "Visit with Rudy," Perry recalled Trump telling him. Perry said Trump was not convinced Kiev, with a history of corruption, had yet “straightened up” its act. However he told The Journal he had never heard the president or Giuliani talk about an investigation into the Bidens.
In his phone call with Giuliani, Perry recalled, Trump’s lawyer told him the president was “really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him during this presidential election. He thinks they’re corrupt and … that there are still people over there engaged that are absolutely corrupt.”
Perry told the Christian Broadcasting Network that his dealings in Ukraine were simply aimed at eliminating corruption in the country so that U.S. businesses could have confidence doing business there.
"This has been a very intense, very focused push to get Ukraine to clean up the corruption,” Perry told the Christian network. “It's a very well-known fact that this was historically a corrupt place and the message was clear: You clean up the corruption and the United States will be certainly willing to come in and help you."
Also called to testify is Vought, whose office received a letter on Oct. 7 from House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees seeking documents relating to the hold Trump had placed on Ukraine aid prior to that July phone call.
Fox News' Chad Pergram, Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.