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Data: Newswhip; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The attack on the Capitol was by far the most captivating story online in a consequential week, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: With control of the Senate in the balance, a nationwide vaccination effort to end the pandemic underway and discussion of $2,000 checks in play, the country's attention was instead dominated by legislative — and then riotous — efforts to subvert democracy.

  • Stories about the siege generated 3.5x more interactions (likes, comments, shares) on social media than the Georgia runoffs, which led to Democrats taking control of the Senate.
  • Before Wednesday's violence, efforts from Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and other Senate Republicans to stop the certification of Joe Biden as president had become the top story.
  • Before that, it was Trump's call pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes" that captured the most attention. The Washington Post's report ended up as the most-engaged story overall.

Between the lines: The deaths that resulted from the riots became the central narrative of the events, accounting for three of the week's 10-most engaged stories, per NewsWhip.

  • In the aftermath of the riot, top stories about the fallout included tech platforms' bans of Trump accounts, resignations in the Trump administration and calls for the president's removal.

Go deeper

How Dems could notch tech wins even with a dysfunctional Senate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tech policy may be one area where Democrats will be able to smash through the logjam forming around their razor-thin Senate margin and actually pass meaningful legislation.

The big picture: Many Democrats want to hit Big Tech with new antitrust laws, updates to Section 230, privacy legislation and more. The party may be united enough on such issues — and able to peel off GOP support — to pass laws around them even as the Senate's 50-50 party-line split and shifting priorities imperil other legislative possibilities.

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden on Trump's impeachment trial: "I think it has to happen"

President Biden told CNN Monday that he believes the impeachment trial of former President Trump "has to happen," but he does not think 17 Republicans will join Democrats to vote to convict.

Why it matters: Biden's comments are most concrete he has made about his views on Trump's second impeachment.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

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