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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The New York Times' hit podcast "The Daily" hit a billion total downloads last week after launching just over 2.5 years ago, says Theo Balcomb, executive producer of The Daily.

Why it matters: The Daily has been a surprise success story in the saturated world of podcasting. The profitable show was credited with being one of the biggest drivers to Q2 digital advertising growth for The Times last quarter.

Details: According to Balcomb, The Daily experiences an increase in listenership when there is major, breaking news.

  • "When Comey was fired, we saw a spike. When Mueller was appointed, we saw a spike," says Balcomb. "What's been amazing for The Daily is that when we see spikes, we maintain them."

Be smart: Politics generally garners the most interest, says Balcomb.

  • "In general, something that feels like a huge political or cultural conversation brings people in. This is particularly true for debate coverage. Users rely on The Daily to explain big news of the day. Instead of watching a 3-hour-long debate, they will tune into a 25-minute recap from The Daily."

By the numbers: On average, The Daily now garners more than 2 million downloads per day, and approaching 10 million monthly uniques, per The Times. The show is also carried on over 150 public radio stations nationwide in the U.S.

Go deeper: Podcast events are making a killing

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”