Embroiled in scandal, Energy Secretary Rick Perry resigns

The Rachel Maddow Show, 10/17/19, 9:53 PM ET

Perry, in Trump Ukraine scandal spotlight, resigns in video

Rachel Maddow shares some of a video released by Donald Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry in which he appears to confirm reports that he is resigning his position.
Two weeks ago, Politico was first to report that Energy Secretary Rick Perry was poised to announce his resignation from Donald Trump’s cabinet. The Texas Republican pushed back soon after, telling reporters, “They’ve been writing the story for at least nine months now. One of these days they will probably get it right, but it’s not today, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not next month.”

Perry resigned yesterday.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who has emerged as a central figure in the Trump administration’s quickly expanding Ukraine affair, has resigned and will leave his job by the end of the year. […]

The departure of Perry, one of the last remaining members of Trump’s original Cabinet, comes as his name emerged in the Ukraine affair that has resulted in a Democrat-led House impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Perry’s departure comes two weeks after Donald Trump, in remarks to House Republicans, suggested his scandalous July 25 call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was the Energy secretary’s fault.

The Texas former governor is also the latest in a series of Trump cabinet officials who’ve exited under a cloud of scandal, and the list includes controversial figures such as former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, former HHS Secretary Tom Price, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and former VA Secretary David Shulkin.

For months, there was a running joke in political circles about Donald Trump’s cabinet: as controversies swirled around the president and his team, it was Rick Perry, of all people, who was “making it through his service relatively unscathed.”

In recent weeks, that joke disappeared for good reason.

Indeed, as Rachel explained in detail on last night’s show, the Energy secretary is deeply involved in the Ukraine scandal that’s likely to lead to the president’s impeachment. That includes, of course, his role as one of the “Three Amigos”: officials tapped by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to oversee U.S. policy in Ukraine, sidelining the proper officials.

Perry has already been subpoenaed to testify as part of the U.S. House’s impeachment inquiry.

Looking ahead, the president told reporters that he’s already chosen Perry’s successor for Energy secretary, and the White House plans to “announce it pretty soon.” Whether that’s true or not remains unclear.