Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday that President Donald Trump cannot fire him according to the law.
“The law is clear that I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it,” Powell told “60 Minutes” in an interview which aired Sunday night.
When asked directly if he thought Trump could fire him, he responded “no.”
Trump reportedly discussed firing Powell with his White House advisers in December, though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted that the president reassured him that he has never suggested firing Powell, nor would he have the power to do so.
Powell told “60 Minutes” that the Fed remains independent and operates without political sway.
“We are directed to execute policy in a strictly nonpolitical way, serving all Americans, and thats what we do, he said. We are independent in that sense.
Trump has grown increasingly critical of the Federal Reserve, blasting rate hikes as the biggest threat to America’s economy, even referring to them as “loco.” Trump went as far as to criticize the Fed as ” a much bigger problem than China .”
Trump has also personally attacked Powell, previously stating that he is ” not even a little bit happy ” with his selection of Powell as chairman.
“Every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates,” Trump said of Powell in October . He added that Powell, “almost looks like he’s happy raising interest rates.”
On Sunday, Powell fired back, stating that the US central bank does “not feel any hurry to change the level of interest rates again, calling the current rate level “appropriate” and “roughly neutral.”
Last year, the fed raised interest rates four times, though in January the Federal Open Market Committee held interest rates steady and signaled it could be nearing the end of the latest tightening cycle. Federal fund rates are currently at target range of between 2.25% and 2.5%, which remain historically low.
Powell said he believes the US economy remains strong despite global weaknesses. I would say theres no reason why this economy cannot continue to expand, he told “60 Minutes.”
Gina Heeb contributed to this report.