Trump recognizes he doesn’t have the authority to fire Fed chairman: Mulvaney

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York U.S

Trump has made no public comments about a Bloomberg News report late Friday that he'd discussed firing the Fed's Jerome Powell after the latest interest rate hike by the central bank under Powell's stewardship. The Federal Open Market Committee raised interest rates for the fourth time this year on Wednesday and Powell downplayed the role of market turbulence in setting policy, disappointing bulls who hoped for broader acknowledgement of their plight. There are only five governors now appointed, which means decisions are split between those serving in Washington and the regional Fed presidents, who are not appointed by Trump. That effort has intensified in recent months: 25 of the meetings came in August, September or October.

Former Senate Banking Chairman Richard Shelby publicly cautioned Trump against the move on Saturday.

He's chatted with Republicans Bob Corker, Roy Blunt, Jerry Moran, Mike Rounds and Tim Scott twice each.

Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, said Powell "has done nothing to warrant being dismissed". "I think what we'll do is take a couple of weeks, a couple of months and see if he likes the way I'm handling the job, if I like the job".

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tweeted Saturday night that Trump claimed he never suggested firing Powell or believed he had "the right to do so".

Powell, chosen by Trump for the job, took over the key post for a four-year term at the helm of the US central bank in February, replacing Janet Yellen.

Any attempt by Trump to push out Powell would have potentially devastating ripple effects across financial markets, undermining investors' confidence in the central bank's ability to shepherd the economy without political interference.

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"Were he to try, markets would erupt", said Nick Sargen, chief economist with Fort Washington Investment Advisors in Cincinnati, Ohio. "If the stock market continues lower next week, the Fed's credibility will be in real trouble".

Fed angst was at the center of last week's market cyclone, in which the S&P 500 tumbled 7.1 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index became the biggest U.S. equity gauge to enter a bear market since the financial crisis.

Trump's questions about his authority to dismiss Powell underscore how much he fears that the stock market slide, and looming worries about economic growth, could threaten his re-election chances and weaken him politically. The Federal Reserve Act says governors may be "removed for cause by the President".

Trump has regularly violated that decades-old norm, sending tweets and giving interviews critical of Fed policy tightening.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday echoed the comments of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that Donald Trump doesn't think the USA president has the authority to fire the head of the Federal Reserve.

Ahead of the Fed's final meeting last week, the President warned the Fed not to make "another mistake" to raise rates. But investors' concerns over the chairman's comments led to US equities to record their steepest declines for any Federal Open Market Committee announcement day since 2011.

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