CNN legal analyst: 'Absurd' to say Trump Jr.'s Russian lawyer meeting 'treason'
© Getty Images

A CNN legal analyst said Tuesday that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE Jr.'s emails setting up a meeting with a Russian lawyer last year would likely be examined as part of the federal probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, but warned against making any conclusions about a possible crime.

"I think this is really going to be one of the most important documents that ... [special counsel Robert] Mueller looks at, who is doing this investigation," said Paul Callan, a former New York homicide prosecutor and media law professor.

"Because it’s the first time we see a clear link to the Russian government in that; the email suggests that this lawyer who’s going to have the meeting has been designated by the Russian government, and that there are official Russian documents," he continued.

Callan, however, warned about simply concluding that "this is criminal as opposed to political stupidity."


"There’s nothing in American law that I’m aware of that would prohibit a candidate from accepting damaging information, even from an enemy foreign government, to use against a political opponent," Callan said.

"And I think it’s absurd to say this could be treason."

Trump Jr. released a chain of emails on Tuesday that detailed his conversations about setting up a campaign meeting with a Russian lawyer who said she had damaging information on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE, who had just clinched the Democratic presidential nomination. 

The information “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read one email to Trump Jr. from Rob Goldstone, a music promoter and a former British tabloid journalist who served as an intermediary to set up the meeting.

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump,” Goldstone wrote.

“If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer," Trump Jr. replied.

Trump Jr. said the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, did not have what he hoped would be opposition research and instead intended to discuss changes on policy affecting American adoption of Russian children.

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill Desperate Dems signal support for cutting Biden bill down in size MORE (D-Va.), Clinton's running mate during the 2016 election, said Tuesday the investigation into Russian meddling is now moving "beyond" obstruction of justice to "even potentially treason."