It’s easy to understand why the media and intelligence community suspected Donald Trump was guilty of collusion: He acted guilty.
He publicly talked about Manfort and Cohen “flipping,” and changed his tone regarding Cohen after he cooperated with investigators. Trump also fired James Comey, wanted Jeff Sessions to un-recuse, and wanted to remove Mueller—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
By not fully enacting Trump’s capricious orders, some of his senior aides may have rescued the president from himself. As the Mueller report notes, “The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”