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Bob Woodward didn't want to join Senate Republicans in privately condemning President Trump but declining to do so publicly, he told Jonathan Swan in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Woodward has covered 9 presidents, but Trump is the first that Woodward explicitly described as "the wrong man for the job."

  • "I did not want to join the ranks of the Senate Republicans who know that Trump is the wrong man for the job but won't say it publicly. ... I was not going to hide. And I think there are too many people hiding about Trump."

Woodward's book, "Rage," was based on 19 interviews with the president, and the journalist concluded that Trump failed at his self-described job.

  • "He failed to protect the people. And he knew the threat of this virus much earlier on January 28, which is the key moment when it was told to him. Two hundred thousand people, the countrymen he leads, have died. And he could have taken remedial action. He could have protected the country."

In the interview, Woodward told "Axios on HBO" that Trump could have given a very different State of the Union address.

  • "Near the end, he talks about the virus for 15 seconds and says, we're doing everything we can. He then spent, what, two minutes and 45 seconds on Rush Limbaugh."
  • "Now, suppose he'd taken that moment to say, 'a few days earlier, my national security advisers came and gave me evidence about a pandemic that's going to be like the 1912 Spanish flu pandemic that killed six hundred and seventy five thousand people in this country. Fifty million people in the world.'"
  • "Suppose he had said, 'I got this warning. I need to tell you. That's my job. I'm going to protect the people.'"

The bottom line: Woodward — who doesn't typically vote in presidential elections to maintain journalistic objectivity, he says — told "Axios on HBO" that he doesn't know whether he'll vote in November, despite declaring Trump unfit for the job.

Go deeper

Preview: “Axios on HBO” interviews former cyber chief Christopher Krebs

On the Season 3 finale of “Axios on HBO," former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Christopher Krebs tells Axios national political correspondent Jonathan Swan whether he thinks President Trump is a domestic threat:

  • “There is disinformation that he is spreading. I mean, disinformation is one type of threat,” Krebs said.

Catch the full interview and much more on Monday, Dec. 7 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

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