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Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Interest in the Senate impeachment trial over its first three days was barely half as strong as the first three days of the House impeachment hearings, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

The big picture: That was by design. By blocking Democratic attempts to subpoena new documents, the Republican-controlled Senate made sure no dramatic new information would surface during the first few days of the trial — and made it easier for Americans to tune out.

By the numbers: Stories about impeachment during the first three days of House impeachment hearings resulted in 32.5 million interactions (likes, comments, shares) on social media, per NewsWhip data.

  • There were 17.8 million interactions on impeachment stories during the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the Senate trial. (Note: We counted Tuesday, Jan. 21 — not Friday, Jan. 17 — as the first day of the trial for practical purposes, since that's when the first real action took place with the votes on trial rules.)
  • Of the 25 biggest stories about Trump during these three days, only three were related to impeachment.

Between the lines: It's not as if the numbers are due to the media not covering the Senate trial as much. Stories during the House hearings averaged 816 interactions per article (40k articles total) compared to 504 interactions per article (35k) during the trial.

Yes, but: This could all change if the Senate votes to call witnesses next week — though the odds of that happening are looking less and less likely.

What's happening: This dynamic shouldn't come as a surprise: The Democratic-led House was motivated to crank up interest in impeachment by making the hearings as explosive as possible.

Republicans, on the other hand, want the trial done as quickly and painlessly as possible without the opportunity for new evidence to surface or for the case against Trump to build.

  • They've dismissed the trial as boring, while working to ensure that they're as boring as possible.
  • The biggest new revelations since Trump's impeachment — the Government Accountability Office report that concluded the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine, and Lev Parnas’ allegation that Trump knew all about his efforts to pressure Ukraine — have happened outside the trial.
  • And don't forget that we already know the ending of this trial, thanks to Trump's red wall in the Republican-controlled Senate that makes his conviction and removal virtually impossible.
  • On the first evening of the trial, Fox News opted to air prime time opinion hosts, while CNN and MSNBC showed the trial.

The bottom line: The gravity of the charges against Trump is serious, but without something to change the dynamic — like witnesses who could provide new information, or suspense over the outcome — it hasn't been enough to keep the country hooked.

Go deeper

Gaming CEO calls on industry to help fight climate change

"Catalyst Black." Screenshot: Super Evil Megacorp

Gaming CEO Kristian Segerstrale is calling on leaders in his industry to take action on climate change, after completing a $1.4 million fundraising campaign this summer.

Why it matters: Gaming's pandemic-fueled boom creates an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to do some good.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign travelers will be allowed entry to the U.S. beginning Nov. 8 if they can provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a shot authorized by the World Health Organization and a negative test within three days of departure, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: The updated guidance, which exempts children under the age of 18 from the vaccine requirement, is intended to provide further clarity for airlines and foreign nationals who have been restricted from traveling to the U.S. since early 2020.

4 hours ago - Sports

Unvaccinated athletes face 21-day quarantine at Beijing Olympics

Logos for the 2022 Winter Olympics at Yanqing Ice Festival in February 2021 in Beijing. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Athletes, staff members and journalists at the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be required to quarantine for three weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlined in its newly-published "playbooks."

Why it matters: The quarantine period is longer than the Games themselves, meaning vaccinations or an earlier arrival date will be required to participate in or cover the Games.