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Mnuchin: Trump 'absolutely respects the independence of the Fed'

Mnuchin: Trump 'absolutely respects the independence of the Fed'
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Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Stocks slide after Trump warns China: 'I am a Tariff Man' | Mnuchin urges Congress to pass new NAFTA without changes | Postal reforms could inflame Trump-Amazon feud Mnuchin urges Congress to pass Trump's new NAFTA without changes Stocks slide after Trump warns China: 'I am a Tariff Man' MORE said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoaquín Castro: Trump would be 'in court right now' if he weren't the president or 'privileged' Trump flubs speech location at criminal justice conference Comey reveals new details on Russia probe during House testimony MORE “absolutely respects” the independence of the Federal Reserve, after the president directly criticized its chairman for raising interest rates.

"We as an administration absolutely support the independence of the Fed," Mnuchin said on "Fox News Sunday."

"These are really more just comments saying, as interest rates are going up, it’s something that the president has a concern," Mnuchin added.

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Trump broke with precedent earlier this month when he expressed displeasure with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell over the prospect of interest rate increases.

Mnuchin on Sunday downplayed any potential rift between the White House and Powell, saying "We think the Fed will be very careful in managing the economy."

Trump, who appointed Powell, argued in an interview with CNBC that higher interest rates have prevented the economy from expanding to its full potential.

“We go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again. I don't really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best,” Trump said. 

“I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up,” he added.

Presidents typically avoid speaking out on the Fed's policies, as it was designed to be immune from political influence in its efforts to encourage low unemployment and stable prices.

Trump disputed that he was putting political pressure on the bank, telling CNBC that he was "saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen."