Dershowitz slams New York Times op-ed for broaching Trump Jr. treason charge

Noted attorney Alan Dershowitz slammed The New York Times on Wednesday, telling Fox News's Neil Cavuto he can't believe the newspaper "had an op-ed in which treason was mentioned" regarding Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer. 

"There’s really no difference on the First Amendment between a campaigner using information obtained from somebody who obtained it illegally and the newspaper doing it," said Dershowitz, who is also an opinion contributor for The Hill, on "Cavuto Coast to Coast" show on Fox Business. "So I think this is conduct that would be covered by the First Amendment.

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"It is also not prohibited by law," Dershowitz continued. "There has been so much overwrought claim. People are talking about treason. I can't believe The New York Times had an op-ed yesterday in which treason was mentioned."

The Times published a Tuesday op-ed that argued while a treason charge against Trump Jr. is "ultimately unlikely," the president's eldest son could still be prosecuted under other statutes.

"Prosecution under the federal treason statute is ultimately unlikely because we are not at war with Russia," reads the op-ed by Norman Eisen and Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics lawyers for former Presidents Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaIt's Joe Biden's 2020 presidential nomination to lose Assange hit with 17 new charges, including Espionage Act violations Progressive commentator says Obama was delusional thinking he could work with Republicans MORE and George W. Bush, respectively.

"But during the Cold War, treasonous conduct was often prosecuted under other statutes," the op-ed continues. "Alger Hiss was sentenced to four years in prison for 'forgetting' in sworn testimony that he had met with Whitaker Chambers, an American working for the Russians."

Dershowitz argued in a separate FoxNews.com opinion piece that even if Trump Jr. did collude with the Russians, there is no law on the books that says it's a crime.

"Perhaps mere collusion by a campaign with a foreign government should be made a crime, so as to prevent future contamination of our elections," wrote the 78-year-old law professor. "But it is not currently a crime."

The revelations about the Trump Jr. meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016 has fueled speculation about the possibility of collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin.

Trump Jr. has said Veselnitskaya provided no damaging information on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Hillary Clinton slams Trump for spreading 'sexist trash' about Pelosi Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign MORE during the meeting.

During a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday night, Trump Jr. acknowledged that he would have "done things a little differently" in retrospect.