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Trump doesn’t ‘grasp’ basic facts about US economic policy: Former Fed chair Janet Yellen

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Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen wasn’t renominated to a second term as the head of the U.S. central bank because President Donald Trump wanted to make his own mark on the institution — despite the fact that her replacement holds broadly similar views and she was widely seen as a steady hand at the helm of monetary policy.

And in a new interview published Monday, Yellen had critical — though measured — words about the president and his limited understanding economic policy. Speaking with MarketPlace editor Kai Ryssdal, she was asked to react to Trump’s norm-breaking vocal attacks on the current Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

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“President Trump’s comments about Chair Powell and about the Fed do concern me, because if that becomes concerted, I think it does have the impact, especially if conditions in the U.S. for any reason were to deteriorate, it could undermine confidence in the Fed,” she told Ryssal. “And I think that that would be a bad thing.”

She was also bunt in her assessment of Trump’s understanding of the Fed’s role and economic management more broadly — an area of policy in which the president believes himself to be an expert.

“Do you think the president has a grasp of macroeconomic policy?” asked Ryssdal.

“No, I do not,” said Yellen. “I doubt that he would even be able to say that the Fed’s goals are maximum employment and price stability, which is the goals that Congress have assigned to the Fed. He’s made comments about the Fed having an exchange rate objective in order to support his trade plans, or possibly targeting the U.S. balance of trade. And, you know, I think comments like that shows a lack of understanding of the impact of the Fed on the economy, and appropriate policy goals.”

The former fed chair was also critical in the interview of Trump’s aggressive trade policy and liberal use of tariffs.

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“I think my own view is that those shifts are likely to be adverse for the U.S. economy, to the extent that some of these things are bargaining chips, with the hope of lowering trade barriers generally,” she said. “I suppose the outcome of that, if it’s successful, could be positive …

“It’s a big ‘if,'” said Ryssdal.

“It is as a big ‘if,'” she said. “And when I continually hear focus by the president and some of his advisers on remedying bilateral trade deficits with other trade partners, I think almost any economist would tell you that there’s no real meaning to bilateral trade deficits, and it’s not an appropriate objective of policy.”

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She also said she would have liked to have served a second term as Fed chair and that she misses working there, though she had confidence in current Chair Jerome Powell.

Read the full interview here.

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Two impeachment articles expected against President Trump: reports

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Democrats are expected to announce on Tuesday two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, US media reported Monday evening, after laying out their case at a hearing against a president they branded a "clear and present danger" to national security.

The articles will focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, The Washington Post said, citing three official familiar with the matter.

It added that the full House of Representatives would vote on the articles next week, ahead of a trial in the Senate.

CNN said a third article on obstruction of justice was still being debated, and the network's sources cautioned that plans were still being finalized.

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Ambassador McFaul ‘shocked’ Trump invited Sergey Lavrov back to the Oval Office: ‘What are they thinking?’

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Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul repeatedly said he was shocked that President Donald Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

McFaul was interviewed Monday evening by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC "The Last Word," where he contrasted how Trump is treating the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin to the Ukrainian government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Ambassador McFaul, I want to get your reaction to the Russian foreign minister meeting tomorrow at the White House, in the Oval Office, with President Trump," O'Donnell said. "That's his second time. President Zelinsky still hasn't gotten that meeting and Donald trump apparently, apparently may be voted articles of impeachment in committee this week because of his interactions with President Zelensky."

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House Judiciary to vote on Thursday to impeach Donald Trump: report

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Democrats are moving ahead with the impeachment of President Donald Trump following another day of testimony on Monday.

"House Democrats plan to unveil at least two articles of impeachment Tuesday, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, according to multiple lawmakers and aides. The Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the articles on Thursday, setting up a vote on the House floor next week to make Trump the third president in history to be impeached," Politico reported Monday evening.

"Democratic leaders plan to formally announce the articles at a press conference Tuesday morning. Judiciary Committee Democrats intend to meet ahead of the announcement and review the articles," Politico reported. "The decision to move forward with specific impeachment charges is the most significant move yet for the year-old Democratic House majority, a legacy-defining moment for Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sets up a Senate trial for Trump in early 2020."

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