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Mnuchin says Trump never suggested firing Fed chairman



Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted Saturday that he spoke to President Donald Trump about reports that he wanted to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell — and said the president reassured him he believed he didn’t have the power to do so.

“I have spoken with the President @realDonaldTrump and he said ‘I totally disagree with Fed policy. I think the increasing of interest rates and the shrinking of the Fed portfolio is an absolute terrible thing to do at this time, … especially in the light of my major trade negotiations which are ongoing, but I never suggested firing Chairman Jay Powell, nor do I believe I have the right to do so,'” Mnuchin tweeted.

Mnuchin’s statement contradicts a Bloomberg report on Friday that said Trump had mentioned wanting to fire Powell over repeatedly raising interest rates this year, despite warnings from his advisers that the move would be politically damaging.

Bloomberg cited four people familiar with the matter who said Trump has become increasingly frustrated with Powell since he again raised interest rates this week.

Read more: Trump’s anger over rate hikes is growing as he hints at firing Fed chairman Jerome Powell

Chairman of the Federal Reserve nominee Jerome Powell testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee November 28, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong/Getty

On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise the rate by 25 basis points to a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, the highest since 2008.

Trump has often criticized Powell for the rate hikes, arguing that “the Fed has gone crazy” and the hikes will slow the economy.

The advisers also said they weren’t certain Trump would actually oust Powell, and said they hoped Trump’s rage would die down over the holidays.

Powell has chaired the Fed since February, when he took over from Janet Yellen

David Choi contributed reporting.

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