Perry defended Paris Agreement withdrawal, entertained pig manure biofuel idea.
Megan Geuss - 7/25/2017, 5:55 PM
Enlarge / WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump's choice as Secretary of Energy, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Capitol Hill January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
The Washington Post confirmed the conversation with the Department of Energy. In audio originally posted on a Russian website and reposted elsewhere, the dialogue touched on a Baltic Sea pipeline that would pump Russian gas, as well as an expansion of coal and oil and gas interests in Ukraine. Early in the conversation, Secretary Perry tells the pranksters that "the [Trump] administration is broadly supportive of sanctions against Russia at this particular point in time," and later he offers that "negotiation is always possible" on coal exports to Ukraine.
The Secretary also advised the "Prime Minister" that, without transparency about regulations and geological data about where wells have been or could be drilled, it would be hard for the US to help oil and gas companies expand exploration in Ukraine.
Perry also told the men that the US was very interested in working with Ukraine "on the civil nuclear side" and noted that that's what they'd discuss in an upcoming meeting. "Between coal, oil and gas, and nuclear, this August meeting can be very productive," Perry said.
Perry also took questions from the men about the Paris Agreement, which the Trump administration intends to withdraw from. "I hope that stepping away from the Paris accord will not have any negative impact with our relationship with the Ukraine," Perry said on the phone. "We tried to divorce the politics from this and really just let our record stand, one that I'm very proud of.
According to the Washington Post, the duo played it straight the whole time, including during a part of the call when Kuznetsov and Stolyarov told Perry that Ukrainian President Poroshenko had invented a new biofuel out of pig manure and alcohol.
The Russian pranksters have allegedly duped Elton John and John McCain in the past. But how these two men got Perry on the line is unclear. "Calls between Cabinet secretaries and foreign officials are typically closely vetted; it's not clear how the pranksters connected with Perry," Bloomberg wrote.
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