The Note: Mueller takes center stage after week remembering Bush's GOP

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The week belonged, appropriately, to former President George H.W. Bush and the era he came to represent. Starting Friday, another Republican -- something of a throwback to that era -- will take center stage.

Robert Mueller, a Princeton graduate who volunteered to serve in Vietnam, was named by the late president's son to run the FBI and is now, as special counsel, running the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, will speak via court action today.

Court filings on President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who is working with Mueller, and on the president's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who no longer is, could give new clues about what Mueller knows and how he's prepared to act on it.

Mueller soon could be getting a new boss, with Trump moving toward naming a permanent attorney general. And House Republicans are hoping to bring the stories in a different direction Friday, with former FBI director James Comey set to testify about his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

But the next set of moves belongs to Mueller. He's already shown he's capable of surprising everyone -- up to and including -- the president's legal team.

PHOTO: Mark Harris speaks to the media during a news conference in Matthews, N.C., Nov. 7, 2018. Chuck Burton/AP, FILE
Mark Harris speaks to the media during a news conference in Matthews, N.C., Nov. 7, 2018.

The RUNDOWN with John Verhovek

There are very real and pressing questions continuing to swirl around what appears to be a case of election fraud in North Carolina.

But now, squarely on the political horizon, there is the prospect of an entirely new election. It appears destined to garner the same hype and money as a hotly contested western Pennsylvania House race that preceded a net gain of 40 seats for Democrats in the House. A new contest for a seat Democrats lost by less than 1,000 votes will undoubtedly generate new hope of flipping a 41st.

That new election also would make it impossible for Trump and national Republicans to ignore the situation, which so far they have largely done.

The race for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District should serve as a stark reminder that more needs to be done to restore faith in the belief that no matter what state you live in, elections in which you vote are carried out fairly and honestly -- regardless of your political leanings.

PHOTO: Former FBI director James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington on June 8, 2017.Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE
Former FBI director James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington on June 8, 2017.

The TIP with Benjamin Siegel

Some of the president's closest Republican allies in the House have used their investigative powers in the majority to target the Justice Department, raising questions about Clinton's use of a private email server and the separate probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, in what Democrats have decried as an effort to undermine the special counsel.

Now, as they prepare to turn control of the House over to Democrats, Republicans on the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees have subpoenaed and plan to question Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The former FBI director appears Friday to testify behind closed doors.

With their plans to follow up with a report on their investigation into alleged political bias in the handling of the Clinton and Russia investigations, House Republicans could continue drawing attention to their criticisms of senior FBI and Justice officials well into the new year.

But Eric Shickler, a political science professor at the University of California Berkeley who's studied Congress and congressional investigations, told ABC News that lawmakers traditionally use the lame-duck session of Congress after an election to take care of legislation "that both sides didn't want to deal with before the election."

"I think Republicans view this as their last shot, in control of the House, to try and score some points," he said.

THE PLAYLIST

More Mueller filings are due today and this morning's episode of "Start Here" features ABC News Senior Investigative Producer Matthew Mosk, who tells us what to expect. ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl says he's hearing from sources that the president intends to nominate William Barr to be the next attorney general. And ABC News Devin Dwyer talks about a Supreme Court case that deals with "double jeopardy" protections, but could have pardon implications for the White House. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • The president speaks with law enforcement officials in Kansas City, Kansas, about mitigating violent crime.
  • Friday marks the 77th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
  • The House Judiciary and Oversight Committees interview former FBI Director James Comey at 10 a.m. on Capitol Hill.
  • This Week on "This Week":Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committee MemberSen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., comes to “This Week” Sunday. And the Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, with ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran, Republican Strategist and ABC News Contributor Alex Castellanos, Associated Press Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace, and Vice News Washington Bureau Chief Shawna Thomas.

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    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.
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