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Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

While TV ratings for the impeachment hearings peaked on the first day of testimony from Bill Taylor and George Kent, none drew as much online attention as former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, according to data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: Democrats hoped to sway public opinion with revelations about a smoking gun of Trump's involvement in a quid pro quo, but the numbers highlight the power of an emotional appeal.

  • Yovanovitch became a sympathetic figure to many over perceptions that she was wrongfully removed from her post.

Yes, but: Since she had been removed from her post by May, Yovanovitch couldn't speak to central details around the impeachment inquiry focused on events in July.

The big picture: TV ratings steadily declined over the course of the 5 days of hearings, according to Nielsen data.

  • The first day of testimony pulled in 13.8 million viewers and Yovanovitch got 12.7 million.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday of this week both got 11.4 million viewers. Thursday's hearing pulled in 11.3 million.

By comparison to other big Trump-era television events:

  • Christine Blasey Ford/Brett Kavanaugh: 20 million
  • James Comey: 19.5 million
  • Michael Cohen: 15.8 million
  • Robert Mueller: 13 million

The 5 biggest stories of the impeachment hearings, per NewsWhip:

  1. "Yovanovitch gets standing ovation at the end of 5-hour hearing" (The Week) - 675k interactions
  2. "Flashback: Obama Fired All Of Bush’s Politically Appointed Ambassadors In 2008" (The Daily Caller) - 490k
  3. "Alexander Vindman has reached out to Army about his family's safety amid attacks by Trump and GOP lawmakers" (CNN) - 229k
  4. "Marie Yovanovitch admits Obama admin prepped her on Hunter Biden before her confirmation" (New York Post) - 203k
  5. "The Army is prepared to move Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his family to a safe location if necessary" (Business Insider) - 162k

Go deeper: The highlights from all of the public impeachment hearings

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.