Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he doesn’t believe President Trump has the legal authority to fire him.
"The law is clear that I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it," Powell said during an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. When pressed for a yes or no, Powell said “no” he did not think Trump could fire him.
Trump told reporters in October he thought the Fed had “gone crazy” after repeated interest rate hikes. Despite comments attacking the Fed, Trump said in October he wouldn’t fire Powell.
Then as the stock market declined near the end of the year, Trump went after the Fed again, tweeting: “The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch - he can’t putt!”
Around the same time it was reported that Trump had private discussions about firing Powell. Regardless, much of the heat has been taken out of the situation since news that the Fed would be slowing the pace of raising interest rates, potentially not raising them at all this year.
Powell reiterated Sunday that the Fed was in no hurry to raise rates, saying he thought the Fed’s policy rate was “in an appropriate place.”
“Patient means that we don't feel any hurry to change our interest rate policy,” Powell explained.
Powell was nominated by Trump to lead the Fed and after being confirmed took over the role in February of last year.