According to Axois, Trump is now laying the 25 July phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, at the feet of Rick Perry. Trump told House Republicans that he made the phone call at the urging of Perry and claimed that he didn’t even want to make the call.
Perry has recently announced that he is leaving his position as Energy Secretary amid reports that while making steep cuts to the budget of the Energy Department he closed needed programs. He then created a program specifically to oversee Artificial Intelligence. He allocated $119 million in funding for AI in 2020. Perry’s wife owns stock in Verizon, AT&T and Splunk, companies that are prioritizing AI technology and likely to benefit from such an office.
Such an effort is much like (if on a smaller scale) Elaine Chao’s special pipelines for Kentucky grants that would be politically helpful for her husband, Mitch McConnell.
Politico has reported (10/1/19) that House Democratic members have been pressing Perry for information about his May trip to the inauguration of Ukraine’s President, Zelensky. The House sent a letter posing questions to Perry about Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Biden. A similar letter was sent to Pence.
Perry has also been a regular visitor to Saudi Arabia where he traveled in 2017 to convince the Saudis to partner with the U.S. in developing nuclear reactors.
In July, Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, described himself, Perry and Volker as the “three amigos” on Ukrainian issues.
On another front of graft and corruption: One of the supposed adults in the room with Trump was former Chief of Staff John Kelly. I cannot count the number of times I sat on front of the television and listened to commentator after commentator stress how Kelly was a man of integrity, blah, blah, blah. Well, AP is pointing out in an article (10/3/19) that the Trump administration is directing more and more of the business of housing and detaining migrant children to private industry, specifically to a company, Caliburn, where Kelly sits on the board.
While Kelly was in the Trump administration, he backed the idea of taking children from their parents at the border, arguing that it would serve as a deterrent. He is now personally profiting off policies he helped craft.
When Kelly left the military, he served on an advisory council for the Obama Administration that studied ICE’s continued use of privately operated immigration detention facilities for adults. Later that year, the federal government announced plans to phase out privately run prisons. That would all change when Trump took office.
While Kelly was serving on this committee, he joined the board of DC Capital partners, a financial firm that would go on to found Caliburn.
CHS is owned by belt-way contractor Caliburn International Corp. CHS staffs a large Florida facility with 2,000 workers even though the last children left the facility in August. The Trump administration maintains that CHS is keeping the facility in readiness in case it is needed.
In 2015, CHS was paid $1.3 million to shelter migrant children. So far this year, they have been paid almost $300 million. The AP estimates that it costs the taxpayers $775 a day to house these migrant children.