Alternative fact: “Politics is not the nicest business in the world, but it’s very standard where they have information and you take the information.” Trump at a joint press conference with French President Macron in Paris.
Real fact: There is an interesting article on Politico from someone who actually conducted oppo research. Obtaining private (and anything so sensitive that it needs to be discussed with you instead of your dad’s assistant is somewhat obviously not public record type stuff) information from frenemy nation governments.
When a public investigation in the Ukraine revealed payments to Manford, receiving information from a public investigation … well, using it might be sleazy politics (in that respect, Trump is not wrong … politics is not nice). But buying a computer on sale from a well known retail store isn’t illegal whereas purchasing one for half retail from the back of some guy’s van behind the Tower City is probably going to garner a receiving stolen goods charge.
There was a car theft ring in Pennsylvania that obtained blank titles from Harrisburg. Purchasing a car with a valid title from a used car dealer is not a suspicious circumstance. Victims were out money because the cars were returned to their rightful owners, but they were not charged with a crime because nothing about their scenario seemed suspicious.
The item itself, nor its provenance , are not the only considerations — how suspicious a reasonable person would have been of the circumstances is the distinction between a criminal activity and being a victim of a crime.