In an interview with CBS' 60 minutes, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that President Trump's criticism of the the central bank and its interest rate hikes played no role in the Fed's recent decisions to hold off on raising interest rates further.

The big picture: The Fed's seemingly sudden shift to pause on further interest rate hikes came after Trump's unprecedented string of negative comments about Powell and the Fed hiking rates under his leadership — stoking concerns that Trump had influenced the apolitical central bank.

The exchange:

Scott Pelley: You were raising interest rates at the end of last year and just in the beginning of 2019. The president sounded off on that. And you stopped raising interest rates. Was it because of pressure from the White House and the President?
Powell: Not at all. Not at all. And it's very important that the public understand that we are always going to make decisions based on what we think is right for the American people .... We will never, ever take political considerations into effect. This is a strong institution, which has a strong culture, which is as I've described it.

Other highlights: Powell also said that the president does not have the legal authority to fire him, something lawyers and fed-watchers have debated. He also said he "fully intends" to serve his four-year term.

  • Powell also reiterated his concern about the U.S. national debt, saying he feels like he "has a duty to speak up" when something "threatens the overall economy."

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Romney calls Stone commutation "historic corruption"

Sen. Mitt Romney. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Saturday tweeted a scathing response to President Trump's Friday night commutation of former associate Roger Stone's prison sentence, calling the move "[u]nprecedented, historic corruption."

Why it matters: Romney has emerged as the party's most prominent Trump critic. He sent shockwaves through Washington after announcing he would vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial — becoming the only Senate Republican to break ranks and vote for the president's removal from office. Now he is the first major GOP lawmaker to condemn Trump's Friday night call regarding Stone.

5 hours ago - Health

We're losing the war on the coronavirus

Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

By any standard, no matter how you look at it, the U.S. is losing its war against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The pandemic is not an abstraction, and it is not something that’s simmering in the background. It is an ongoing emergency ravaging nearly the entire country, with a loss of life equivalent to a Sept. 11 every three days — for four months and counting.