In the legal world, words can mean just as much actions, and sometimes more. Law is determined by words, phrasing, and interpretation (moreso the latter if you disagree with the law you’re fighting at the time).
In the case of Donald Trump, Jr., the law is simple: you cannot solicit any aid from a foreign nation for election purposes. The statute in question is
(a)Prohibition It shall be unlawful for—
(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—
(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;
(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or
(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or
(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph