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Former Secretary of State and retired four-star Gen. Colin Powell said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he will be voting for Joe Biden in November, rebuking President Trump as a liar and claiming he has "drifted away" from the Constitution.

Why it matters: Powell is one of a number of GOP leaders and military officials who are either openly denouncing Trump or declining to say whether they will support his re-election in the wake of his response to the George Floyd protests.

What he's saying: "The first thing that troubled me is the whole birthers movement," Powell, who did not vote for Trump in 2016, told CNN. "Birthers movement had to do with the fact that the president of the United States, President Obama, was a black man. That was part of it."

  • "And then I was deeply troubled by the way in which he was going around insulting everybody," Powell continued. "Insulting gold star mothers, insulting John McCain, insulting immigrants, and I'm a son of immigrants. Insulting anybody who dared to speak against him."
  • "And that is dangerous for our democracy, it is dangerous for our country. And I think what we're seeing now, the most massive protest movement I have ever seen in my life, I think suggests the country is getting wise to this and we're not going to put up with it anymore.

The big picture: Powell's criticism of Trump follows blistering statements from other military leaders over the past week, including former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who condemned the president as a threat to the Constitution.

  • Powell said he is "proud" of his fellow military leaders who are speaking out: "They were willing to take the risk of speaking honesty and speaking truth to those who are not speaking truth."

The other side: Trump tweeted late Sunday, "Colin Powell was a pathetic interview today on Fake News CNN. In his time, he was weak & gave away everything to everybody - so bad for the USA. Also got the “weapons of mass destruction” totally wrong, and you know what that mistake cost us? Sad! Only negative questions asked."

Go deeper: The president vs. the Pentagon

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's comments.

Go deeper

Trump says he wanted to assassinate Bashar al-Assad but Mattis was opposed to it

President Trump on Tuesday confirmed that he wanted to order an assassination against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but former Secretary of Defense James Mattis "was against it."

What he's saying: "I would have rather taken him out. I had him all set. Mattis didn't want to do it," Trump said on "Fox & Friends." His comments confirm a detail reported in journalist Bob Woodward's 2018 book "Fear."

8 mins ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

2 hours ago - World

Saudi Arabia and Qatar near deal to end standoff, sources say

Qatar's prime minister (R) attends the 2019 Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a deal to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf following U.S.-mediated reconciliation talks this week, sources familiar with the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf after a 3.5 year standoff. It could also notch a last-minute achievement for the Trump administration before Jan. 20.