Texas, and its politicians, are getting drawn into national and international affairs.
Donald Trump says his Secretary of Energy, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, urged him to call newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump phoned Zelensky July 25. That call accelerated efforts to impeach Trump.
House committees working on the impeachment effort have subpoenaed Perry –mostly for documents about the call.
Perry swears his recommendation to Trump was solely to encourage energy dealings between Ukraine and the US.
Perry said “as God is my witness,” his call had nothing to do with Trump holding up almost $400 million in US arms aid to Ukraine.
A CIA whistleblower reported that Trump was using the arms money as leverage to get Zelensky to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden’son Hunter, for his involvement with a Ukrainian gas company. Joe Biden is leading polls for the Democratic nomination for president.
Another Texan suddenly linked to Ukraine is former U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas, a Republican who lost his try for a 12thterm in Congress in 2018.
Sessions has been identified as “Congressman-1” who assisted in recommending that the U. S. Ambassador to Ukraine be recalled.
Two Soviet-born business associates of Trump’s personal attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani – Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas — were arrested late Wednesday night (Oct. 9) at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C, for “violating campaign finance rules, including funneling Russian money into President Trump’s campaign.”
As for Sessions, the indictment also says the two men“committed to raise $20,000 or more for a then-sitting U.S. Congressman” referred to in the court document as “Congressman-1.”
This revelation came a few days after Sessions had announced he was running for another term in the U.S. House – though not in Dallas’s 32ndCongressional District.
Sessions instead tossed his hat into the ring in the more solidly Republican Central Texas 17thDistrict, which stretches from Waco to Bryan to Austin.
He was born in Waco, and lived there through the 8thgrade. He later represented a few of the northern counties in the district, during the six years he represented the 5thCongressional District from Dallas south, before it was re-drawn, and he moved to the 32nddistrict.
The 17thdistrict’s incumbent, Bill Flores of Bryan, announced in September that he’ll be retiring in 2020, after a decade in Congress.
Flores, who had not been contacted by Sessions before his decision to run in the 17th, promptly stomped on Sessions’ hat.
“I find it unacceptable that someone from outside the district would attempt to drop in and try to elbow their way to the front of the line ahead of our local leaders” Flores said in a statement Thursday. (Oct. 10.)
Another former congressman, Democrat Beto O’Rourke from El Paso, a long-shot candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has organized a counter-rally to one Donald Trump is holding Thursday Oct. 17, in Dallas.
Trump’s is in the 20,000-seat American Airlines Center at 7 p.m. O’Rourke’s rally is at 6 p.m., 13 miles west of Trump’s, in The Theatre at Grand Prairie. It seats 6,350.
Texas, for its part, with its 38 electoral votes, seems to be a factor in the presidential election for the first time in decades.
Dave McNeely is the editorial page editor at the Austin-American Statesman. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.