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Steven Mnuchin defends Fed chair after Trump criticisms

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin praised Fed Chair Jerome Powell in an interview with CNBC: “I think he understands the issue of growth and he's carefully monitoring the growth numbers and the inflation numbers.”

Why it matters: Mnuchin’s comments contrast with those of President Trump, who said last week he was not “thrilled” with Powell and criticized the Fed for raising interest rates.

The full exchange:

Do you think we're already at neutral and would you persuade Chairman Powell not to raise rates anymore? Do you agree with the President in that respect?

Mnuchin:

"I think as you know, as Treasury Secretary, I respect the independence of the Fed. I meet with Jay Powell on a weekly basis. We talk about a lot of economic issues. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on interest rates in that position. But what I would say is I think Jay [Powell] has been a phenomenal leader at the Fed. I think he understands the issue of growth and he's carefully monitoring the growth numbers and the inflation numbers and we'll see. I, for one, am not at all concerned about the yield curve. I don't think that's a predictor of economic growth. I think it's a market condition. And for now, having a flat yield curve with us issuing long-term debt is something we're perfectly content with."