The Note: Oversight questions won’t wait for new Congress

Trump's powers are set to be reined in as never before in his presidency.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

January will bring a change in Washington's power dynamics, with Democrats set to wield subpoena power and committee agendas.

But big questions of presidential power may not be able to wait until then. The president's attempt to control the Justice Department -- up to and including Robert Mueller's investigation -- will run into concerns among some Republicans, with a push this week in the Senate to protect Mueller.

That effort is unlikely to succeed. But questions about acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's legitimacy are growing, and House Democrats are making clear that what's happening now will come to public view later, if necessary.

"We could subpoena Mueller, and ask him in front of the committee and ask him, 'What was in your final report?'" Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on ABC's "This Week."

One other area where January would be too late: settling the handful of still-undecided races from last week's midterms. Trump has threatened federal intervention and even the possibility of a new round of voting in Arizona, while offering no evidence of the fraud he claims is rampant, almost daring other political leaders to engage.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Here's a recap of the still-outstanding congressional and gubernatorial races -- those that ABC News still has not projected:

-- Georgia governor's race, which could be headed to a runoff should the final vote or a potential recount show Secretary of State Brian Kemp failed to obtain the 50 percent required to declare victory.

-- The Florida governor’s race, which is currently in a recount.

-- The Florida Senate race, which is also in a recount.

-- The Arizona Senate race, which is razor thin, but still being counted.

Plus nine House races: CA-10, CA-39, CA-45, CA-48, CA-49, ME-02, NJ-03, NM-02, UT-04.

The races getting a lot of attention right now in Florida and Georgia are also putting a spotlight on the question of whether officials should be able to monitor their own elections.

When it is hard to discern the candidate from the elected leader, it eats away at faith in the system.

The TIP with John Verhovek

"The evidence is that Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis have won."

The declaration from counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway on Sunday to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos may have projected confidence, but the truth of the matter is that we will not know who the next U.S. senator or governor of the state of Florida is until at least Nov. 15, the deadline to complete the automatic machine recount part of the process.

What Conway does have on her side is history. According to a 2016 analysis from FiveThirtyEight, the average election recount results in a swing of a little under 300 votes, far fewer than the 12,562 that currently separate Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

But as it so often has in so many close Florida elections, Broward County could hold the key to a Nelson or Gillum comeback. Twenty-six thousand fewer Floridians voted in the Senate race this year than the governor's race, an oddity many have noted, and could bode well for Democrats if it turns out to be a systemic failure.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast: Monday morning's episode features Florida's recount déjà vu, explained by ABC News' Victor Oquendo, and discusses the fizzling bromance between French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump, according to ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran in Paris.


  • President Donald Trump has no public events scheduled today.
  • The Congressional Progress Caucus holds a media availability at 2:45 p.m. at AFL-CIO headquarters. With 78 current members, the CPC is expected to grow significantly in the 116th Congress, with over 20 CPC-backed candidates slated to join the caucus after winning their elections last week.