Donald Trump's threats to use taxes as "retribution" against U.S. companies that move jobs overseas are legally dubious, tax specialists say — and they're prompting resistance from some Republican leaders who fear a coming era of economic protectionism or international trade wars.

"There's other ways to achieve what the president-elect is talking about," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Monday, arguing that changing the tax code is the way to entice companies to create jobs and keep them in the U.S.

"I don't want to get into some type of trade war," McCarthy said. Implementing large tariffs like those Trump proposed had little apparent support in the Senate either, where most Republicans have long backed deals lowering trade barriers, not raising them.

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