U.S. Energy Secretary tricked into fake interview with Russian comedians

Energy Secretary Rick Perry fell for some genuinely "fake news" earlier this month, when he took a phone call from what he thought was the prime minister of Ukraine.
By Linda Mack | Jul 30, 2017
Energy Secretary Rick Perry fell for some genuinely "fake news" earlier this month, when he took a phone call from what he thought was the prime minister of Ukraine. But as E&E News reported Tuesday, the caller was actually a Russian comedian duo, Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, who have a track record of targeting celebrities and politicians with prank phonecalls and other stunts.

Krasnov and Stolyarov got Perry to talk to them for 22 minutes about the prospect of increasing U.S. coal exports to Ukraine. The conversation also touched on Russia sanctions, President Trump's opposition to the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will bring Russian natural gas to Europe if completed, and the White House's interest in helping Ukraine develop its own oil and gas industries.
"Giving Ukraine more options with some of our technology is, I think, in everyone's best interestwith the exception of the Russians, but that's OK," he said.
The comedians, still pretending to be the Ukrainian prime minister, also told Perry that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had invented a new biofuel made of home-brewed alcohol and pig manure. Poroshenko has not invented any such biofuel, but Perry did not know that and responded with keen interest and said he would like to learn more about it when he visits Kiev again in August.
"I look forward to visiting with the president and getting a more in-depth briefing If that's the result, then he's going to be a very, very wealthy and successful man," Perry told his interviewers.
The comedians have also prank-called Elton Johnthey fooled him into thinking that he was speaking with Vladimir Putin. But it is unclear how they made it past the White House vetting process and reached Perry.

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