Energy Department agrees to begin releasing Ukraine-related records

Energy Department agrees to begin releasing Ukraine-related records

The Energy Department on Monday agreed to begin releasing a cache of Ukraine-related records, including former Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryTrump: Senate should decide on witnesses; Bolton testimony poses national security risk Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP MORE’s communications with high-level Ukrainian officials, according to a joint status report filed in a Washington, D.C., court.

The agreement came in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by American Oversight, an ethics watchdog group. The group in October sued the department in an attempt to gain access to documents relating to Perry’s communications with key Trump administration and Ukrainian officials. It also sought records relating to the department’s contacts with President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE’s attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDemocrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Pompeo lashes out at 'shameful' NPR reporter Trump legal team launches impeachment defense MORE.

The DOE agreed to start releasing documents relating to Perry’s communications with his former chief of staff Brian McCormack by Jan. 28. The first set of documents will also include records relating to the presidential delegation Perry led to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration last May. 

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Another package of documents, focused in part on Perry's and McCormack's communications with Giuliani, are scheduled to be released on Feb. 4. A third cache of Ukraine-related documents will be released by March 16. 

“American Oversight followed proper legal procedures that the Department will honor," DOE press secretary Shaylyn Hynes said in statement to The Hill.

Perry and Giuliani have become key figures in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine. The inquiry primarily focused on allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to announce politically advantageous investigations and that he used military aid as a source of leverage.

The House in December voted to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 

Perry, who stepped down as Energy secretary late last year, faced a House subpoena in October after media reports raised questions about his involvement in Trump's dealings with Ukraine. 

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CNN reported in October that Trump directed Perry and multiple State Department officials to talk with Giuliani about matters pertaining to Ukraine. Trump also told House Republicans during a conference call that he made the infamous July 25 phone call with Zelensky after a request from Perry, according to Axios

Perry refused to comply with a House subpoena before departing the administration. Department of Energy press secretary Shaylyn Hynes wrote in a statement to The Hill in November that Perry would "not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition."

She argued on Monday that the department did not respond to a House subpoena because lawmakers "subpoenaed the Department for documents without proper authorization, ignoring its own rules."

UPDATED 10:51 p.m.