Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Friday that he would not comply with a demand from Democrats to appear before closed sessions of House committees to testify in their impeachment inquiries of President Trump.
“The Secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present,” spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement.
“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,” she said.
Perry and White House Budget Office acting director Russell Vought had been requested by Democrats to testify next week in the impeachment inquiry.
Perry is the first member of Trump’s Cabinet asked to appear before House investigators.
In addition, State Department counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale were also asked last week to come before the committees.
Democrats are pursuing an impeachment inquiry of the president on an official basis after voting to do so last week.