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Off the rails

Swan series on Trump's final days

Trump started choreographing election night in early October, including acting out a premature victory speech.

Jonathan Swan is a national political correspondent at Axios covering both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Zach Basu is an associate news editor at Axios. He oversees the site’s breaking news coverage across politics, business, and technology.

Episode 1

A premeditated lie lit the fire

Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

Episode 2

Barbarians at the Oval

Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

Episode 3

Descent into madness

The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software

Episode 4

Trump turns on Barr

Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet

Episode 5

The secret CIA plan

The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command

Episode 6

Last stand in Georgia

Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and Donald Trump's defeat in this Deep South stronghold, and his reaction to that loss, would help cost Republicans the U.S. Senate as well. Georgia was Trump's last stand.

Episode 7

Trump turns on Pence

Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution

Episode 8

The siege

An inside account of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that ultimately failed to block the certification of the Electoral College. And, finally, Trump's concession.

Episode X

President Trump's private schedule hadn't included appointments for Powell or the others: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, and a little-known former Trump administration official, Emily Newman. But they'd come to convince Trump that he had the power to take extreme measures to keep fighting.