|Karen McDougal (Toglenn)|
Blake Hounshell (Politico, Feb 18, 2018) doesn't believe Trump was guilty of conspiring with the Russians. He bases his entire analysis on an absence of evidence argument. The absence of evidence theory goes like this: Since there is no evidence that Trump conspired with the Russians, therefore he didn't. Hounshell knows Trump didn't do it because he didn't blab about it and he can't keep a secret. That's another argument from absence of evidence, like saying the criminal didn't do the crime because he didn't tell anyone about it.
Hounshell should understand that absence of evidence is not evidence. It's conspiracy fodder, like saying that because I can't see global warming happening, it must be nonsense, or else there's a huge conspiracy of scientists to trick us into believing global warming is a thing. It's particularly suspect when you base your argument on the idea that Trump can't keep a secret, and therefore there is no secret. That whole argument falls apart because Trump can keep secrets, and has done so on many occasions, when he believes it is in his interest to do so.
Trump kept his numerous sex adventures secret by elaborate non-disclosure agreements and "catch and kill" contracts, whereby a publisher buys an informant's story for a high sum of money, then kills the story. It's a way to keep the public from ever finding out what some powerful man (or woman) doesn't want them to know. Trump did this at least once, to keep one of his sexual conflicts from telling her story to the press. Karen McDougal sold her story to the National Enquirer, which promptly buried it so that it never saw the light of day. Until now.
Trump kept that secret for 10 years, because he understood that it would harm him if it became public knowledge. He also kept secret his sexual encounters with an actress in pornographic movies. He kept these secrets because he understood the repercussions such scandals would have for his marriage and his public image.
Trump has also hidden his dealings with Russian oligarchs and the mob-controlled unions in the New York building trades. He concealed those things because he understood that they were illegal. On the other hand, he revealed top secret information to Russians because he didn't believe it was important to him, personally. He may have realized that describing espionage arrangements to Russian spies could result in serious damage to the people who obtained the information, maybe even their deaths, but he didn't care about that--because Trump only cares about what affects him personally.
That's why he refuses to release his tax returns. Because they contain evidence of his own criminal activity. He has concealed the contents for years, despite the demands of all and sundry to release them. Another secret he keeps is how much he is actually worth. He claims to be a billionaire, but some people doubt that. Trump himself, when asked under oath how much he was worth, said it just depended on his mood.
Trump can keep a secret. He knows that conspiring with the Russians to rig an election is a serious criminal offense. He's going to keep that secret until he goes to jail for it.