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Maxine Waters Grills Fed Chair Powell on Trump – And Crypto

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:37 PM
P. H. Madore
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:37 PM

After grilling Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill about his agency’s response to Facebook’s Libra “cryptocurrency,” US Representative Maxine Waters finished her questioning by asking the central banker what he would do if Donald Trump “fired” him.

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The California Democrat started and ended her time with comments on President Trump, calling him “reckless” in her opening and deploring the Federal Reserve to resist his administration’s “high-pressure tactics.”

Powell is on the record as saying he would not leave his position, as under the law he is entitled to four years. He reiterated this statement before Congress this morning. Waters finished her time by saying:

“I hope everyone heard that.”

Powell has found himself at odds with Donald Trump on more than one occasion.

Waters, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, has also been on a crusade against Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project – a crusade she continued on Wednesday.

Facebook Libra “Raises Many Concerns”

facebook cryptocurrency libra
Maxine Waters has been an outspoken critic of Facebook’s blockchain ambitions. | Source: REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

On the subject of the Libra cryptocurrency, Powell was cautious in his statements, but open with the congresswoman. Her opening line of questioning began:

“Facebook’s planned products may ultimately be intended to establish a parallel banking and monetary policy system to rival the dollar. […] I believe what they’re doing raises national security and monetary policy concerns for consumers, investors, and the global economy.”

Powell told Waters that the Federal Reserve had met with Facebook a couple of months before the crypto project was publicly announced.

Indeed, CCN.com has it on good authority that Facebook was working on this project at least 12 months ago, having a meeting with the makers of Hedera HashGraph and ultimately integrating one of their ideas.

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jerome powell, federal reserve
Fed Chair Powell said that Facebook’s crypto project raises “many concerns.” | Source: Joshua Roberts / Getty Images / AFP

He then said:

“We do support responsible innovation in the financial services industry […] Libra raises many concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection, and financial stability.”

Powell said the Federal Reserve had recently convened a meeting to discuss Libra, but that inter-agency working groups like the Financial Security Oversight Council (FSOC ) had not had a chance to meet on the topic yet.

Other representatives, such as North Carolina Republican Patrick McHenry, focused on macroeconomic issues like the ongoing trade tensions with China, and specifically expressed concerns about US-Sino fiscal policy in that direction.