I was listening to a video interview between WSJ and Berkeley law professor John Yoo, about Trump Jr having meeting Russians during his father's presidential campaign. Yoo's opinion was that Trump Jr.'s receiving info from Russian was stupid but not a crime.

His argument was that if Americans were prohibited from giving out info to a campaign, it is more likely a violation to his freedom of speech. When the anchor pressed that what if the informant was an Russian, Yoo's response was like (not sure if I heard him accurately enough though):

"That's harder question when it comes to Russian. the logic of applying to Russians would make it legal all the rough and tumble politics we are having in opposite researches in our own politics with Americans"

I've been struggling to understand his response. What "opposite researches" did he refer to? How that comment helps defend his positions?

The original video can be found here. (The cited text is at 03:36).

  • By prefacing his response with "that's a harder question whether it's a Russian", Yoo brushes aside the question of whether the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech in the 1st Amendment apply to agents of a foreign government. The rest of the comment defends his position by attempting to create an equivalency between American citizens engaged in political opposition research and agents of a foreign government; the distinction between the two is raised in opposition to his position. (But this is interpretation, and probably off topic here.) – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 18 '17 at 21:13
  • Regarding the specific bold phrase you are asking about, researches is clearly wrong since research is an uncountable noun. So research is used regardless of quantity. – user3169 Jul 18 '17 at 21:26
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    @user3169 It's a mistranscription. See the video at the time specified or see Max below. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 18 '17 at 21:55
  • @P.E.Dant I realize that. I'm just saying that the OP could have seen that "researches" was wrong by checking a dictionary. – user3169 Jul 19 '17 at 0:18
  • @user3169 Actually, in some dictionaries (Collins & Cambridge, e.g.) he would have seen that it sometimes has a plural form. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 19 '17 at 1:23

I don't want to discuss his argument, but what he says is

That's a harder question whether it's a Russian. But the logic of applying it to Russian would make illegal all the rough and tumble politics that we have in opposition research in our own politics with Americans.

He is talking about opposition research:

Opposition research (also called oppo) is the practice of collecting information on a political opponent or other adversary that can be used to discredit or otherwise weaken them. The information can include biographical, legal or criminal, medical, educational, or financial history or activities, as well as prior media coverage, or the voting record of a politician. Opposition research can also entail using "trackers" to follow an individual and record their activities or political speeches.

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