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In this bonus story for How It Happened: Trump's Last Stand, Axios political correspondent Jonathan Swan details a botched attempt, made during President Trump's final days in office, to rapidly withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

  • Trump desperately wanted ending America's longest war to be part of his legacy. Instead, it will be Joe Biden's.
  • Nonetheless, in a recent interview with Swan, Trump took credit for Biden's announcement, insisting he set in motion a plan that could not be stopped.
  • Swan provides listeners the full story of what Trump tried to do, how, and why it ultimately didn't happen.
  • Follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen so you don't miss our second season coming later this year.

Credits: This episode is produced by Amy Pedulla and Naomi Shavin. Dan Bobkoff is our executive producer. Mixing by Alex Sugiura. Theme music by Michael Hanf. Margaret Talev is Managing Editor of Politics. Sara Kehaulani Goo is Executive Editor. Additional writing, reporting and research by Zach Basu.

Special thanks to Nuria Marquez Martinez, Niala Boodhoo, Alexandra Botti, Jimmy Shelton, and to Axios co-founders Mike Allen, Jim VandeHei, and Roy Schwartz.

Note: This episode has a brief moment of profanity.

Go deeper

Aug 31, 2021 - Podcasts

What's next after 20 years of war in Afghanistan

Today was President Biden’s deadline for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. After two decades of war, the final U.S. plane left Kabul yesterday afternoon.

  • Plus, Biden waives ethics rules for top officials.
  • And, one reverend’s fight against a Texas abortion ban.

Guests: Senior minister of First Unitarian Church in Dallas Daniel Kanter, Axios' Dave Lawler and Lachlan Markay.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, and Ben O'Brien. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

Updated 16 mins ago - World

German election: Social Democrats narrowly beat Angela Merkel's bloc

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BERLIN — The center-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) clinched a narrow victory in Germany's historic federal elections on Sunday, just four years after suffering its worst loss since World War II.

Why it matters: It's a stunning political comeback for the SPD, paving the way for its chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz to form a new governing coalition and lead Europe's largest economy into the post-Merkel era.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Liz Cheney: Americans deserve better than choice of Biden or Trump

Rep. Liz Cheney talks with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS News

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Americans "deserve better than having to choose between" President Biden's "disastrous" policies and former President Trump, "who violated his oath of office."

Why it matters: Cheney made the remarks after CBS' Lesley Stahl put it to her in the interview that Republicans feel that her joining the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot helps "keep the focus on Trump instead of on the shortcomings of the Biden administration."