Ben Lefebvre covers the energy industry and energy policy for Politico. He broke the story of Perry’s planned exit on Thursday. Rumors of Perry’s departure aren’t new, but Lefebvre says what’s different this time is that there’s a departure date.
“From what I was told, the administration had asked him to stay until at least the end of December, which he agreed to,” Lefebvre says. “But with this Ukraine scandal taking grip, he’s decided, the sooner the better.”
Perry has not been directly connected to the scandal over President Donald Trump’s contacts with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, though he was mentioned in a congressional subpoena of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. But Lefebvre says Perry has made Eastern Europe a priority in his work at the Department of Energy.
“He’s been traveling there quite often to talk up U.S. LNG – liquified natural gas – and energy exports, but he also seems to have gotten sucked into the president’s dealings with the Ukrainian president,” Lefebvre says.
Lefebvre expects Perry to be the subject of a subpoena soon, as House committees work to learn more about contacts between the administration and Ukraine.
Perry is unlikely to run for office again, Lefebvre says. He expects Perry to focus on the private sector in some capacity.
“Boards always need members,” Lefebvre says.
Perry’s tenure as energy secretary has been relatively drama-free, and Lefebvre says many would consider it successful.
“For the most part, it sounds like he kind of had fun at DOE, and is just getting out now while the getting’s good,” he says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.