'Butterfly effect': Reporter reveals how a single Lincoln Project ad poisoned Trump's relationship with Pence
Donald Trump and Mike Pence at the White House. (CNN/Screenshot)

Former President Donald Trump in the last weeks of his term completely destroyed his once-close relationship with former Vice President Mike Pence -- and Axios reporter Jonathan Swan says that a single Lincoln Project ad set everything in motion.

In his latest "How It Happened" podcast, Swan explores the "butterfly effect" that occurred when the Lincoln Project began airing ads on Fox News in the Washington D.C. market late last year that taunted Trump for the role that Pence would play in overseeing the congressional certification of President Joe Biden's victory.

"On January 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin," the ad informed him.

According to Swan, Trump had absolutely no idea that Pence would play a ceremonial role in certifying the election results before he saw the ad, and he immediately started "bullying" the vice president until he agreed to "refuse to certify the election."

Pence, however, understood that he could not legally refuse to certify the results, but he told Trump that he would ask his general counsel to look into it in the hopes that the former president would simply forget about his demands.

Trump, however, recruited GOP legal scholar John Eastman to personally lobby Pence to overturn the election, despite the fact that no other reputable attorney believed the vice president could do such a thing.

Pence was still resistant, however, which led Trump to turn up the heat and start publicly demanding Pence take action on January 6th -- all of which culminated in Trump supporters chanting, "Hang Mike Pence!" during the Capitol building riots.

Listen to the whole podcast here.