Trump and Fed chairman Powell discuss economy over dinner | AP business

Marco Green
February 9, 2019

There were no "pre-set parameters" ahead of the dinner, and Powell was brought into the White House in "somewhat of a covert operation" to avoid creating speculation, Mnuchin said.

The dinner, the first session between Trump and Powell since the new Fed chair took over a year ago, was held "to discuss recent economic developments and the outlook for growth, employment and inflation", but did not delve into "expectations for monetary policy" going forward the Fed statement said.

Voiced as Powell's recounting of the meeting, the statement said that he and the president discussed the economy in general, did not discuss upcoming monetary policy, and that Powell told the president Fed decisions were "based exclusively on careful, objective and non-political analysis", an odd civics lesson for a chief executive to receive from an appointee. "I'm not aware of any Fed chair in my lifetime that hasn't met with the president.And I'm not aware of any Fed chair turning down an invitation from the White House, nor do I think that would be appropriate".

Trump told The Washington Post in late November that he is "not even a little bit happy" that he nominated Powell for the central bank's top job, but aides have been pushing the president to meet with Powell again.

After raising interest rates for four times in 2018, the central bank on Wednesday left interest rates unchanged as expected, after concluding its first policy meeting this year. The Fed is supposed to be independent from politics, and it is hard to remove a Fed governor except for "cause", which has typically been interpreted by courts as egregious wrongdoing.

The president has been sharply critical of the Fed. They did not discuss the future course of interest rates, a topic which until very recently was a source of contention between the president and the Fed.

Meetings between a president and Fed chief are rare but not unprecedented.

Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in December 2015 that the institution will "proceed cautiously in adjusting policy", while Alan Greenspan said in 1995 that a complex business cycle is underway "whose outcome is yet to be determined", Santoli said. But presidents are not supposed to dictate Fed policy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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