Much of the American political world is getting ready for testimony this week from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who will answer questions about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. But one prominent citizen says he’s planning to take a pass.

President Trump says he will not be tuned in to hear what Mueller has to say to the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, even if it could lead to his impeachment. Since coverage of the event is going to dominate the news, even on Fox, his favorite station, the president will have to give up watching television for a whole day.

That’s good news, and we think the president could find constructive ways to spend his time. His agenda could include:

Visiting detention facilities

Thanks to Trump administration policy, thousands of migrants, including children, are being held in overcrowded and unsanitary facilities. A recent Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report found men crammed into “standing room only” pens for weeks at a time. Detainees of all ages go without showers, hot food or clean clothes.

The trauma of living under these conditions is significantly contributing to mental disorders, but the system is not set up to provide even basic treatment. Vice President Mike Pence toured some centers this month and found conditions “heart breaking” even in the facilities handpicked for his visit.


If Trump is not going to be busy watching the Mueller testimony, maybe he could go to some of these facilities and see for himself how we treat prisoners whose only crime was asking for our help.

Nominating Cabinet secretaries and ambassadors

With the resignation of Labor Secretary Acosta, the administration has an unprecedented number of important federal departments run by acting administrators. There is no Senate-confirmed secretaries of Defense or Homeland Security, or directors of key DHS agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Additionally, we do not have an ambassador to the UN or ambassadors to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Korea or the European Union.

The president says he like the flexibility that comes from running huge departments with unvetted temporary workers who answer only to him, but that doesn’t work under our constitutional system. While the president has a few hours free, maybe he could send some confirmable names up the Senate and bring more accountability to the conduct of our foreign and domestic policies.

Social media detox

If he’s really taking time away from watching TV as long as Mueller’s face is on the screen, maybe he could also put away his other devices and give himself and everyone else a break. The president’s favorite social medial platform, Twitter, is an outrage factory that makes every disagreement look like a fight to the death. Psychologists say that people who frequently check their social media accounts are more prone to depression and anxiety. Excessive use of social media cuts productivity and adds to stress. People who take a break from Facebook and Twitter can expect to feel happier and get more done.

The president could make good use of his time if he keeps his word stays away from the Mueller testimony. He certainly won’t have to worry about missing something important, because these allegations will not be going away soon.

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