"It is clear that today they are trying to make Snowden a bargaining chip, particularly in the pre-election campaign, and we now and then hear certain statements. But still, the presidential candidates should understand that if they come up with populist statements against Edward Snowden, then, of course, becoming the US president will be very difficult," Anatoly Kucherena told RIA Novosti.
One-sided statements about Snowden are very likely aimed at misleading regular US citizens about Snowden's story, his actual contribution and his rights, the lawyers said.
In summer 2013, Snowden leaked over 1.5 million secret documents revealing mass surveillance practices pursued by the NSA in the United States and abroad. The revelations sparked both domestic and international controversy.
Snowden is wanted in his homeland on charges of espionage and theft of government property. He fled to Asia before eventually being granted temporary asylum in Russia for one-year, and later a three-year residency permit. The whistleblower faces up to 30 years in prison in the United States if convicted.