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

Why you should be skeptical of Russia's coronavirus vaccine claims

Photo: Alexey Druzhini/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that his country has registered a coronavirus vaccine and said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated, AP reports.

Why it matters: Scientists around the world are skeptical about Russia's claims. There is no published scientific data to back up Putin's claims that Russia has a viable vaccine — or that it produces any sort of immunity without significant side effects.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

Updated 58 mins ago - Health

New Zealand reports first local coronavirus cases for 102 days

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a press conference at Parliament on July 22 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a family of four tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.