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MSNBC's Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow. Photo: Heidi Gutman/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

MSNBC topped Fox News in total viewers during the week of Dec. 17 for the first time since 2000 as its flagship "The Rachel Maddow Show" ended the week as cable news' most-watched program. (Update: Fox News notes that Sean Hannity, who is opposite Maddow at 9 p.m. ET, has been out for the holidays since Dec. 14.)

The big picture: MSNBC's rise comes as the AP reports that Fox News' fortunes may be tied to the state of news from the Trump administration. Sean Hannity, the network's preeminent host and "Maddow" competitor, is set to earn the title of most popular cable news personality this year, but his ratings have fallen 19% in the month following the midterm elections as the rest of Fox News' prime time slate have also fallen 20% in the same time period.

Disclosure: NBC is an investor in Axios and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is on our board of directors.

Go deeper

Inequality Index signals October jobs growth for lower-income Americans

Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

Polling for the Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index suggests that as the Delta variant ebbed over the last month, job security improved for lower-income Americans.

The big picture: As a result of the improving environment, the Inequality Index this month declined to its lowest point since April — reversing a significant spike in September.

White House unveils landmark reports on climate links to security, migration

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday released a sweeping set of assessments on how to view threats that climate change poses to national security and its role in fueling migration.

Why it matters: One of the key products, a formal National Intelligence Estimate on climate change, marks the first time all 18 elements of the U.S. intelligence community have released a consensus report on the topic.

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican congressmen, have criticized the department's treatment rioters charged with crimes, and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony with be his first appearance before the panel.