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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."

Kate Marino, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views on their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of cancelled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

The shifting definition of fully vaccinated

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The definition of what it means to be "fully vaccinated" is evolving even as the CDC has remained careful not to officially change it.

Why it matters: CDC officials have been balancing the job of convincing Americans who've already gotten two doses of the importance of boosters with getting many Americans who still need their first doses to get their shots at all.