In our news wrap Thursday, President Trump suggested in an interview that the current Federal Reserve policy of gradual rate increases is not helping the economy, but said that he’s “letting them do what they feel is best.” Also, more than 7,000 civilians in Syria were evacuated from pro-government villages, long under rebel siege, in an exchange for militants held in government jails.
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And in the day's other news, President Trump criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates. He was interviewed on CNBC, and suggested the current policy of gradual rate increases is not helping the economy.
President Donald Trump:
I'm not thrilled, because we go up, and every time you go up, they want to raise rates again. And I don't really — I am not happy about it, but, at the same time, I'm letting them do what they feel is best.
Now, I'm just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen. So, somebody would say, oh, maybe you shouldn't that as a president. I couldn't care less what they say, because my views haven't changed.
Later, a White House spokeswoman said the president respects the independence of the Fed. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said he doesn't expect to face White House pressure. He was Mr. Trump's choice for the job.
In Syria today, more than 7,000 civilians were evacuated from pro-government villages in the north. They'd been under rebel siege for three years. Their release was in exchange for militants held in government jails. Buses took the villagers to government-held territory in Aleppo. It's one of the largest population transfers in the seven-year-long conflict.
Meanwhile, in Southwest Syria, there's word that rebels have agreed to leave the frontier along the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Back in this country, Kathleen Kraninger faced questions today about whether she is qualified to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She now works at the Office of Management and Budget. Democrats at her Senate confirmation hearing criticized her lack of experience in banking and financial services.
But Kraninger said she has other qualifications.
Twenty years of government service, working for commonsense solutions across the aisle, working with members on both sides to support the best outcomes for the American people, and that is certainly what I pledge.
At a separate confirmation hearing, Democrats opposed Charles Rettig to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. They said it's a protest against a new IRS policy that lets business, labor and other groups accept donations without disclosing the donors' identities.
The Senate today abandoned plans to vote on the nomination of Ryan Bounds to be a federal appeals judge. He ran into opposition over his writings as a college student, more than 20 years ago, criticizing multiculturalism. It's the first time one of the president's appeals court nominees has failed to advance.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is doing damage control after saying the social media platform will not automatically remove posts denying the Holocaust. In an interview, he'd said he doesn't think Holocaust deniers intentionally get the facts wrong. Later, he said his intent wasn't to defend such speech.
On Wall Street, trade worries and the president's criticism of Federal Reserve help pushed stocks lower today. The Dow Jones industrial average shed more than 134 points to close at 25064. The Nasdaq fell 29, and the S&P 500 slipped 11.
The annual ESPYs sports awards took a solemn turn last night, honoring more than 140 victims of sexual abuse by a sports doctor. Many were young girls when they were assaulted by Larry Nassar at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. Last night, they received jointly the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.
But Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman said they never should have been there.
All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar. If just one adult had listened, believed, and acted, the people standing before you on this stage would have never met him.
Nassar is now serving prison terms totaling more than 175 years.
And the one-time Air Force deejay who inspired the movie "Good Morning Vietnam" has died. Adrian Cronauer passed away at a nursing home in Virginia. Cronauer had an Armed Forces Radio show in Vietnam in 1965 and 66. Robin Williams played him in the 1987 film that was loosely based on his story. Adrian Cronauer was 79 years old.
Still to come on the "NewsHour," views on the Russia controversy from former Ambassador Michael McFaul and former acting CIA Director John McLaughlin; Israel's controversial law declaring it the homeland of the Jewish people; the plan to reunite the remaining separated migrant families; and much more.