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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.

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted.

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