WASHINGTON: US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet who has played a pivotal role in the Ukraine controversy, will refuse to testify as requested next week in the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry against Trump, an Energy Department spokeswoman said on Friday.

Perry’s refusal represented the latest instance of Trump’s administration refusing to cooperate in the fast-moving inquiry in the House of Representatives.

Trump said on 17 October that Perry was resigning from his Cabinet post and would step down by the end of the year.

Perry, White House budget office acting director Russell Vought and two other officials were asked to testify on Wednesday next week in a closed session before the three House committees leading the inquiry, an official working on the probe said.

Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his power and trying to pressure a vulnerable US ally to interfere in an American election for his own political benefit. State Department counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale also were asked to testify on Wednesday, according to the official working in the inquiry. REUTERS.

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