Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

More than 400 Justice Department alumni have signed a letter stating they are "disturbed" by President Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker to the role of acting attorney general, under which he is in charge of overseeing the Mueller investigation.

The big picture: Whitaker's impartiality toward special counsel Robert Mueller has been questioned by both political parties given his prior criticism of the investigation. Others have also questioned the constitutionality of the appointment because he’s not Senate confirmed. The letter echoes this concern, and the former DOJ employees have called on Trump to "follow the Constitutional process by nominating an Attorney General, and replacing Mr. Whitaker as Acting Attorney General with the Senate-confirmed official who is next in the line of succession by operation of federal law."

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Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

3 hours ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.