Accepting foreign intelligence on an opponent could be a crime

Specifically, foreign nationals are not allowed to contribute money or things “of value” to campaigns, nor are Americans allowed to solicit such things. Here’s the applicable section of U.S. law:

“It shall be unlawful for . . . a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.”

Subparagraph A describes “a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value . . . in connection with a Federal, State, or local election.”

Mueller opted not to charge Trump Jr. for accepting a meeting in which he expected to receive opposition research on Clinton and the Democrats from a Russian lawyer in 2016. But it was not because there was nothing potentially wrong with this; it was because Mueller decided it was unlikely that it could be proven Trump Jr. knew that it was illegal and/or that the information was something “of value” — a key clause in the above legal code. Trump Jr. has always maintained that the information offered by a Kremlin-tied lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was useless.