The Latest: Trump accuses Green Party recount as a 'scam'

WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Donald Trump says that the Green Party is dropping its recount lawsuit in Pennsylvania, but that’s not the whole story.

The Green Party said late Saturday that it’s switching strategy in its bid to force a statewide recount of Pennsylvania’s Nov. 8 presidential election, which Trump won.

Hours after dropping a state court case, the Green Party said it’ll go to federal court instead. A statement from the lead lawyer for the recount campaign says it’ll seek an emergency federal court order for the recount. It says barriers to a recount in Pennsylvania are pervasive and the state court system isn’t equipped to address the problem.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has spearheaded a recount effort in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states where Trump won narrowly over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump tweeted Sunday that “the Green Party just dropped its recount suit in Pennsylvania and is losing votes in Wisconsin recount. Just a Stein scam to raise money!”


1 p.m.

Government whistleblower Edward Snowden says that former CIA director David Petraeus leaked information that was “far more highly classified” than anything he had ever disclosed, but with minimal penalty.

Petraeus has been named as a possible contender to serve in President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet. Petraeus pleaded guilty last year to knowingly sharing binders of classified information, including the names of covert operatives, with a woman he was having a sexual relationship with.

Snowden, a former NSA contractor who leaked details on the government’s collection of intelligence on Americans, said in an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric that he shared information “with the public for their benefit,” whereas Petraeus shared information with “his biographer and lover for personal benefit.”

Snowden says there is a “two -tier” justice system in the U.S. that favours people with government connections or personal wealth.


11 a.m.

Kellyanne Conway is saying that President-elect Donald Trump is expanding his secretary of state search beyond the four finalists announced last week.

Conway told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower on Sunday that Trump would have “additional interviews” this week but she did not identify the new candidates.

Conway, who was Trump’s campaign manager, said that all the candidates “need to understand” that they must “be loyal” to the president-elect’s view of the world.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is one candidate who might be considered, according to someone close to the transition process who was not permitted to speak publicly about the process.

The previously identified finalists are Mitt Romney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former CIA director David Petraeus and Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker.


10:10 a.m.

Alec Baldwin says if Donald Trump releases his taxes, he’ll stop impersonating him.

The actor is lashing back at the president-elect’s swipes of his performance on Saturday Night Live.

Trump, who has repeatedly criticized the show and Baldwin’s impersonation specifically, tweeted late Saturday night that the show is “unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny.” He added that “the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse. Sad.”

Baldwin began impersonating Trump on the NBC show in the later months of the campaign and has continued the stint since Trump won the election last month.

Baldwin replied, through the Twitter handle of the Alec Baldwin Foundation, “Release your tax returns and I’ll stop.”

Trump has long said he would release his taxes following the completion of an audit.


9:30 a.m.

Vice-President-elect Mike Pence says Donald Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s leader was a “courtesy call” and does not necessarily reflect a shift in U.S. policy.

The phone call drew an irritated response from China, whose foreign minister called the contact a “small trick by Taiwan” and noted that “healthy” U.S.-China relations hinge upon the so-called “one-China” policy.

In a Sunday interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Pence shrugged off China’s annoyance as media hype and noted the estimated 50 calls Trump has had with world leaders since the Nov. 8 election.

Pence said he’s not aware of any contact between Trump or his advisers and Chinese officials since the incident. When asked if there might be a follow-up phone call to Chinese leaders this week, Pence said probably not.


7:40 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is confident that President-elect Donald Trump will soon realize the level of responsibility his job entails.

Despite Trump’s pro-Russian statements during the campaign, Russian politicians are concerned about reports that Trump is considering Mitt Romney, known for his harsh stance on Russia, to be his secretary of state.

Putin said in an interview with the NTV channel to be broadcast later on Sunday that Trump’s business accomplishments show him to be a “smart man.”

He added that “if he is a smart man, that means that he will fairly soon become aware of a different level of responsibility. We expect that he act with these considerations in mind.”


7:35 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is threatening heavy taxes as retribution for U.S. companies that move their business operations overseas and still try to sell their product to Americans.

In a series of early-morning tweets Sunday, Trump vowed a 35 per cent tax on products sold inside the U.S. by any business that fired American workers and built a new factory or plant in another country.

Trump campaigned on a vow to help American workers but also to reduce taxes and regulations on businesses.

Trump tweets “there will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35 per cent for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, A.C. units, etc., back across the border.”

He says companies should be “forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake.”