AP

Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.

Our big dumb president is starting his days later than ever—often not getting to the Oval Office until 11 a.m.—and taking fewer meetings, according to a report from Axios. But one activity has been preserved even as Donald Trump’s schedule shrinks: ample “Executive Time” to tweet and watch TV.

Private schedules shown to reporter Jonathan Swan show Trump’s shrinking work day, driven largely by his increasing demands for “Executive Time” alone in the White House residence. This unstructured time runs from at least 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily, though there typically other periods carved out during the day. Trump usually doesn’t appear for his first meeting, which is generally an intelligence briefing, until 11.

His days typically end by 6 p.m., when he’s back to the residence to engage in his most beloved pastimes: watching cable news, tweeting, and calling friends on the phone. Sounds like a nice gig!

Here’s a real example from Trump’s schedule this week, via Axios:

On Tuesday, Trump has his first meeting of the day with Chief of Staff John Kelly at 11am. He then has “Executive Time” for an hour followed by an hour lunch in the private dining room. Then it’s another 1 hour 15 minutes of “Executive Time” followed by a 45 minute meeting with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Then another 15 minutes of “Executive Time” before Trump takes his last meeting of the day — a 3:45pm meeting with the head of Presidential Personnel Johnny DeStefano — before ending his official day at 4:15pm.

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The site points out this is a stark departure from Trump’s predecessors: after working out in the mornings, President Obama generally got to the Oval between 9 and 10 a.m. and George W. Bush typically arrived there by 6:45 a.m. Near the beginning of his presidency, Trump’s schedule used to begin earlier and end later, but the president didn’t much like the longer days and so that was that.

In response to the story, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump “is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and puts in long hours and long days nearly every day of the week all year long.”

WHAT ELSE?

  • Trump’s legal team, anticipating Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s request for an interview as part of his wide-ranging probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, have been discussing the possibility with the FBI, weighing a number of formats and locales, NBC news reports. Please, someone alert Eric Garland.
  • Sadly, we have to wait another whole week to learn the winners of Trump’s inaugural, definitely not self-serving, absolutely real Fake News Awards because the president is going to a football game tonight.
  • We’re 11 days out from a government shutdown.

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