Sen. Elizabeth Warren had no patience for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s confusing statements during a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday.

The intense exchange came as Mnuchin attempted to explain President Trump’s support of “a 21st century Glass-Steagall” — referring to a landmark piece of legislation that was essentially decimated in 1999.

“While the Glass-Steagall Act was part of a larger bill, the Banking Act of 1933, which also created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, for about 80 years it’s been pretty clear that ‘Glass-Steagall’ refers to the firewall between commercial and investment banking,” The Intercept reports. “There are no real ‘aspects’ of the policy to pick from without that fundamental structure.”

Warren grilled Mnuchin on the Trump administration’s stance on Glass-Steagall after the treasury secretary seemed to contradict himself. Common Dreams reports:

The tense exchange came as Mnuchin, a former executive at Goldman Sachs and OneWest before being picked by President Donald Trump to lead the Treasury, explained to the Senate Banking Committee the administration policy does not favor breaking up too-big-to-fail banks or separating their commercial banking side from their riskier investment banking operations.

“The president and this administration have said repeatedly that they support a 21st century Glass-Steagall,” pointed out an incredulous Warren, who introduced a bill by that name in 2013, in 2015, and again this year, highlighting the administration’s position. “It was in the Republican Party platform. Donald Trump said it specifically a few weeks before the election,” she said. …

“You said, ‘We need a 21st century Glass-Steagall’ at your confirmation hearing,” Warren said to Mnuchin, “and now you’ve said exactly the opposite. In the past few months you and the president have had a number of meetings with big bank CEOs and lobbyists. Is that the reason for the reversal on Glass-Steagall?”

Mnuchin countered that it “wasn’t a reversal,” because the Trump campaign “specifically came out and said we do support a 21st century Glass-Steagall. That means there are aspects of it that we think may make sense but we never said before that we supported a full separation of banks and investment banking.”

“This is crazy,” an incredulous Warren concluded. Watch the exchange in the video above.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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