This is really dumb spin, which is why some in the media consider it plausible.
It’s nice that they’re acknowledging their own incompetence, but the argument fails at face value. Here’s all it would have taken to collude:
Putin team: If you’ll kill the Magnitsky Act, roll back sanctions over Ukraine, do things our way in Syria, undermine NATO, and make America small again, we’ll release illegally hacked emails that your media will help misconstrue to damage Hillary, manipulate swing voters with bot-hyped misinformation, hack voter rolls, continue to underwrite your otherwise failing businesses, and continue to sit on all that damaging info we have.
Trump geniuses: Okay.
This is all so terribly complicated