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Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first line of the Axios Manifesto is "Audience First." That's why we created our unique Smart Brevity style to get you smarter, faster, on topics that matter. But it also means we won't shy away from important stories that are worthy of more detail and more of your time, like our Deep Dives, Axios Investigates and now this deeply reported series, "Off the rails.” 

If you're in a hurry, check out the highlights:

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios special series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

  • This page will be updated as more episodes are published.
  • Our podcast on the series is called "How it happened: Trump's last stand." Episodes will be released each Monday, beginning on Jan. 18.
Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

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
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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
Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

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

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan
Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia
Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and 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
Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

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
Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Bonus episode: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump era
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Getty Images photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post, George Frey/Bloomberg

In this bonus edition, we take you back into the final weeks of the Trump presidency — to one long, unhinged night a week before Christmas, when an epic, profanity-soaked standoff played out with profound implications for the nation.

About the series

Our reporting is based on interviews with current and former White House, campaign, government and congressional officials as well as eyewitnesses and people close to the president. Sources have been granted anonymity to share sensitive observations or details they would not be authorized to disclose. President Trump and other officials to whom quotes and actions have been attributed by others were provided the opportunity to confirm, deny or respond to reporting elements prior to publication.

"Off the rails" is reported by White House reporter Jonathan Swan, with writing, reporting and research assistance by Zach Basu. It was edited by Margaret Talev and Mike Allen and copy edited by Eileen O'Reilly. Illustrations by Sarah Grillo, Aïda Amer and Eniola Odetunde.

Go deeper

Updated Feb 2, 2021 - Science

In photos: Major winter storm dumps heavy snow across Northeast

The scene in New York City's Times Square on Feb. 1. After lashing the Midwest and parts of California earlier, the storm system moved into the Northeast overnight, affecting some 70 million people. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first major winter storm of 2021 was lashing much of the Eastern U.S. over Monday night, with up to 30 inches of snow falling in some places.

The big picture: COVID-19 vaccination sites and schools closed across the Northeast, including in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York City, where the outdoor subway service was suspended. New Jersey's Transit also paused its bus and rail operations. Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed in NYC, Philadelphia and Boston. At least three deaths have been attributed to the storm in Pennsylvania, per AP.

Feb 3, 2021 - World

In photos: Biden admin denounces Myanmar military "coup" as protests spread in Asia

A Myanmar migrant holds up a poster with the image of Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the Myanmar armed forces, in a demonstration outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok. Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Tuesday called the military seizure of power in Myanmar and detainment of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi a coup d'etat as pro-democracy groups protested across Asia.

Driving the news: The official designation will open a broader review of U.S. assistance programs to the Southeast Asian country, which was under military rule before becoming a civilian-led democracy in 2011.

Off the Rails

Bonus episode: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Getty Images photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post, George Frey/Bloomberg

Last month, Axios published "Off the rails," a series taking you inside the end of Donald Trump's presidency, from his election loss to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection that triggered his second impeachment — and a Senate trial set to begin next week.

In this bonus edition, we take you back into those final weeks — to one long, unhinged night a week before Christmas, when an epic, profanity-soaked standoff played out with profound implications for the nation.

Four conspiracy theorists marched into the Oval Office. It was early evening on Friday, Dec. 18 — more than a month after the election had been declared for Joe Biden, and four days after the Electoral College met in every state to make it official.