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Trump claims conspiracy behind recession warnings: Report

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President Donald Trump has claimed in private conversations that opponents are conspiring against him to skew economic data and damage his chances of re-election in 2020, reported The New York Times Sunday.

According to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity, the president has told aides and allies that opponents are seeking to rob him of a key strength going into the 2020 election campaign — the strength of the economy during his presidency.

Agitated by news reports and warnings by economists of signs of a possible recession, the president has privately claimed that “forces that do not want him to win” have been exaggerating the damage his trade war has caused the global economy, according to the report. Trump has repeatedly aired conspiracy theories during his presidency, on issues such as the death of millionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein to Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails.

Read more: Trump is anxious a recession could tank his reelection chances, but officials aren’t openly bracing for one because they’re worried about fueling the fire

President Donald Trump greets the crowd during a rally on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018 in Lewis Center, Ohio.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The president has also sought to blame critics for the data in tweets and public statements, last week claiming that “the Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.”

He has also lashed out at Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, a man whom he personally selected to lead the Fed, and called “strong,” “committed,” and “smart,” when he was first appointed.

In a message Sunday, Trump boasted of the strength of the US economy, and in remarks to reporters said the US economy was outperforming other economies.

“The rest of the world, if you look at Germany, if you look at European Union; frankly, look at the UK — I mean, look at a lot of countries — they’re not doing well.

“China is doing poorly,” said Trump. “Parts of Asia are doing poorly. We are doing better than any country, or even area, anywhere in the world.”

Concerns of a possible recession were heightened last week after the yield curve in the US bond market inverted, an indicator that often points to a coming recession or significant slowdown in economic growth.

An inverted yield curve comes when it is cheaper for the US government to borrow for ten years rather than two. This is because the interest rates on short-term bonds are higher, because people are worried about short-term economic prospects, and shy away from investing in short-term debt.

Read more: The yield curve has uninverted, but signs that a recession could be coming still linger

It comes amid a slowdown in major economies around the world including China and Europe’s powerhouse, Germany. Some of that slowdown, particularly in China, has been blamed by economists on Trump’s ongoing trade war.

Artyom IvanovTASS via Getty Images

However some members of Trump’s own economics team believe that the prospects of a recession are being exaggerated, backing up the president, and that sales and employment figures and other data show that the US economy is likely to remain strong.

Average earnings rose 3.2% in the year to July, while nonfarm payrolls, the key measure of US employment, increased by 164,000 jobs in the month.

“There is no recession in sight,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Fox News Sunday.

“Consumers are working. Their wages are rising. They are spending and they are saving.”

Last week, however, the Washington Post reported that some in the administration worry about a looming recession, but are not making any formal plans for it, believing that doing so could help precipitate a crash.

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