Washington: US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who has faced bitter criticism from Donald Trump, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the President can’t fire him. “The law is clear that I have a four-year term. And I fully intend to serve it,” Powell told CBS television’s “60 Minutes.”
However, Powell refused to criticize Trump or discuss private conversations with him, saying “it would not be appropriate” for him to do so. “I try not to comment on the president. I just don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment on the president or frankly any other elected official,” Powell said. “If I do that, I think it’s a distraction from the important job that we have.”
Last year, Trump angrily and very publicly denounced the Fed’s “crazy” interest rate hikes, breaking with traditional reserve from presidents toward the world’s most powerful central bank. The acrimony was such that it led to talk of Trump planning to fire Powell, even though he was the president’s nominee.
Turning toward the economy at large, Powell noted that the growth rate was expected to slow this year, but denied there was a risk of a recession. “This year, I expect that growth will continue to be positive and continue to be at a healthy rate,” he said.
Powell pointed to concerns for cyber crime, calling it the “major focus in terms of big risks.” “Cyber risk is a constantly evolving risk. We devote very large amounts of time and resources to protect the Fed, but also to protect financial institutions and the financial markets. And private corporations do the same thing,” he added.