Aug 20, 2018

Trump hits Fed Chair Jerome Powell for rate hikes, again

President Donald Trump and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump is complaining again about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, telling Reuters today that he's "not thrilled" with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell, adding that he should be "given some help by the Fed."

Why it matters: Despite the pushback he's received for publicly speaking out about the independent government agency, Trump has continued to break a longtime norm of presidents not commenting on monetary policy. On Friday, Trump privately critiqued Powell, his pick to succeed Janet Yellen in 2017, at a GOP fundraiser in the Hamptons, per Bloomberg, and in July he told CNBC that he didn't like watching interest rates go up.

Between the lines: As Axios' Dan Primack notes, Trump's repeated digs at the Fed could be his way of setting up a scapegoat in the event that the economy turns south.

Be Smart: The Fed raised interest rates twice this year, and has suggested there could be two more hikes before the end of 2018. But if officials decide not to raise rates, there could be questions about whether Trump's comments had any influence on the central bank's decision.

  • Alternatively, former Fed official Narayana Kocherlakota told Bloomberg last month that it is more likely that the Fed will go ahead with its plans "just to show they are not being influenced by the White House in any way."

Go deeper: Trump complained about Fed hiking rates at GOP fundraiser

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The next frontier for Big Science

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In 1945, engineer and science administrator Vannevar Bush laid out a framework for support of science in the U.S. that drove prosperity and American dominance. That model isn't enough anymore, experts said at an event this week in Washington, D.C.

The big picture: With China threatening to overtake the U.S. in R&D spending even as research becomes more international, science must manage the tension between cooperation and competition.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 mins ago - Science

U.S. and Taliban sign peace deal

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) sign a peace agreement during a ceremony in Qatar. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

The United States signed a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar on Saturday after over a year of off-and-on negotiations, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The signing of the deal officially begins the process to end the United States' longest war, which has spanned nearly two decades. The agreement sets a timetable to pull the remaining 13,000 American troops out of Afghanistan, per the Times, but is contingent on the Taliban's completion of commitments, including breaking ties with international terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda.

Biden bets it all on South Carolina

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Most Joe Biden admirers Axios interviewed in South Carolina, where he's vowed to win today's primary, said they're unfazed by his embarrassing losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Why it matters: Biden has bet it all on South Carolina to position himself as the best alternative to Bernie Sanders — his "good buddy," he tells voters before skewering Sanders' record and ideas.