- Associated Press - Friday, April 5, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump’s comments on the Federal Reserve and interest rates (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

A top economics adviser to President Donald Trump says the administration is not trying to damage the independence of the Federal Reserve by appointing two of Trump’s close political allies to the Fed board.

Larry Kudlow, head of the president’s National Economic Council, says in an interview on the Fox Business Network that the administration is allowed to put people at the central bank who share the president’s views on the economy.

Kudlow was responding to criticism after Trump’s announcements that he plans to nominate conservative political allies - Stephen Moore and former 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain - to the two vacancies on the seven-member Fed board.

Trump’s choices were seen as escalating an effort by the White House to exert political pressure on the central bank.

___

5:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is calling on the Federal Reserve to begin cutting interest rates, saying the economy will take off like a “rocketship” if the Fed begins loosening policy.

Trump, speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, says that he believes the central bank “really slowed us down” with the four rate hikes it imposed last year. Trump says those were unnecessary because there is “very little, if any inflation.”

“I think they should drop rates and I think they should get rid of quantitative tightening. You would see a rocket ship,” Trump said.

Trump has announced he intends to nominate to conservative political allies - Stephen Moore and former 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain - for two current vacancies on the seven-member Fed board.

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