Jonathan Swan had been covering Donald Trump since 2015 as an Axios political correspondent. He fully planned on transitioning into covering the Biden administration after the November 2020 elections, but no one knew the extent to which Trump would go to not give up the presidency. Swan began gathering information for this podcast in October of 2020, as Trump was recovering from his bout with COVID-19 and his reelection campaign was on its last legs. For “How It Happened: Trump’s Last Stand”, Swan sits down with senior West Wing, administration, and campaign officials to talk about just what happened in Trump’s final days in office. Here, you’ll hear the information gathered from the flies on the wall on just how it happened.
Swan covers the Trump administration from early October through the January 6th insurrection, expecting to capture the lead-up to the election, and either a transition of power or a successful reelection campaign. He got neither. In October, Trump’s campaign plummeted after his debates with Biden, and shortly after, he tested positive for COVID-19. A virus that he claimed to not believe in nor be afraid of.
At this point, as he saw his election numbers begin to plummet, Trump began to spin tales of voter fraud. He even went so far as to tell White House officials that if he were even slightly ahead on November 3rd, he would go up to the podium and declare himself victor. From here, it is a direct line to the deadly January 6th insurrection. Swan’s “How It Happened” describes election night – how Trump secluded himself, but fully expected Fox News to be his largest advocate.
When all the votes were counted, and recounted, and recounted, and Joe Biden was declared the 46th president of the United States, Trump unraveled. He shouted “fraud” and “fake news”, declaring that he was the winner, and that the entire election had been compromised. Some of his closest allies stayed with him, reciting the assertions that he was the actual winner of the election. But relationships with some of his highest White House officials began to distance themselves.
Swan explains how Attorney General Bill Barr’s break from Trump turned even more of his allies against him. He details inside information on just what happened in the weeks leading up to Barr’s resignation. Swan also uncovers the surprising story of what divided Trump and his closest and subservient ally, Vice President Mike Pence. “How It Happened” tracks Trump’s desperation leading up to Inauguration Day, pressuring Pence to single-handedly declare him President on January 20th, 2021.
What happened next, Swan actually did see coming. The January 6th insurrection. Listen to “How It Happened: Trump’s Last Stand” for the single-most detailed story of Trump’s final days in the public eye. Hear top secret information from inside the White House about the events that led up to that day, from the people closest to the disgraced former president.