Jerome Powell said that the central bank's base interest rate was "just below" estimates of a "neutral" level - one that would neither stimulate nor cool the economy - and that officials were flexible about where it should be, despite forecasting several increases in the coming year.
The minutes flagged the possibility that the Fed will make another adjustment to maintain control of the policy rate, by adjusting the separate interest rate on excess reserves, or IOER, which is now set at 5 basis points below the upper bound of the federal funds target range. "Every time we do something great, he raises interest rates".
The neutral rate can seem like a central bankers' Holy Grail: the "Goldilocks" setting for monetary policy, neither so low as to allow excess inflation nor so high as to weigh on the economy.
But Wednesday's report stopped short of drawing "a bottom line conclusion" - a point Powell reiterated in his remarks, adding that the semiannual survey should be viewed as a routine checkup. "(The Fed has) also signaled they're going to look at data as opposed to just being ideologically set on a particular policy of just raising rates to more normal historical averages". "They're making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can ever tell me". He tried to dismiss as premature questions over whether the Fed would need to raise rates above neutral to a level aimed at slowing growth.
The central bank's rate increases have gradually raised borrowing costs for consumers and businesses.
You have to go back nearly half a century to find a president that has threatened the Fed's independence to the extent Mr Trump has.
Mr Trump's three immediate predecessors - Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton - were careful not to criticise the Fed chairmen of their day.
While noting that some forms of corporate debt levels have become concerning, Powell the financial system and markets appear far sturdier than they did before the 2008 crisis.
A moderate rate path by the Fed could ease off pressure on EM currencies and have a positive implications for EM in terms of fund flows, commodity imports and inflation. However, it did signal a potential shift in tone about the pace of future rate hikes. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, has recently put pressure on the Turkish Central Bank to hold down interest rates - something the bank, to its credit, refused to do.
A few officials expressed concern about rates moving too high too quickly.
The US Dollar basket (DXY) dipped lower but remains in a strong uptrend, underpinned by interest rate expectations.
Some market analysts treated such remarks as an indication of a possible pause in rate hikes, since the neutral rate could be used to decide a target area for the central bank to complete its normalization cycle.