Candid emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell are causing a stir across the country with their blunt assessment of a host of Washington’s stars.
The emails, released by hackers behind a WikiLeaks-type website believed to have ties to Russian intelligence, show Powell criticizing Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE, Bill and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHeller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 MORE and Dick Cheney.
The remarks, made by Powell in private to friends and colleagues, contrast with the statesmanlike image cultivated over a long military and political career.
Powell served under President George W. Bush and endorsed Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTop nuclear policy appointee removed from Pentagon post: report Prosecutors face legal challenges over obstruction charge in Capitol riot cases Biden makes early gains eroding Trump's environmental legacy MORE in his two White House bids, and has generally avoided controversy in and out of office.
The emails, first reported by BuzzFeed and The Intercept, were posted under password protection at DCLeaks. A spokesperson for Powell confirmed to media outlets that the emails were his.
The website that leaked the emails reportedly has a relationship with Guccifer 2.0, who leaked damaging emails from Democratic groups earlier this summer, according to security experts.
Here are five of their most eyebrow-raising revelations.
Powell thinks Trump is a ‘national disgrace’
The former diplomat slammed Trump as a “national disgrace” and an international pariah” in a June email to a former aide, saying the GOP presidential nominee was “in the process of destroying himself.”
Powell has studiously avoided criticizing Trump’s candidacy or the businessman himself in public.
In March, during the height of the GOP primary, Powell decried the “nastiness” in the White House race but didn’t name names. Powell said last fall he was still a Republican and knew Trump “rather well.”
Over email, Powell minced no words blasting Trump over the movement that questioned Obama’s citizenship, which Trump vocally promoted in the past but has declined to discuss in recent weeks.
Powell ripped Trump for the “racist” birther movement in an August email. “When Trump couldn’t keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim,” Powell wrote.
“There is nothing he can say that will sway black voters so he might as well say it to white folks,” Powell wrote in another email last month. “He is at 1% black voters and will drop. He takes us for idiots.
“He can never overcome what he tried to do to Obama with his search for the birth certificate hoping to force Obama out of the Presidency,” he added.
Powell: ‘Everything’ Clinton touches she ‘screws up with hubris’
The leaked emails indicate Powell was angry with Hillary Clinton over her handling of personal email while serving as secretary of State and sought to contrast how he handled the issue.
“Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris,” Powell wrote in August 2015. In the same email, he also says Trump “appeals to the worst angels of the GOP nature and poor white folks.”
“Well, their email ploy this week didn’t work and she once again looks shifty if not a liar,” Powell wrote in an email last month under the subject line “HRC.”
“I won’t be saying anything about her very soon,” he wrote, saying Clinton used private email before the two ever exchanged views on it. “I have been warning her staff for a year not to try to use me.”
“Sad thing,” Powell wrote a confidant in another email late last month of the email story, “HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me into it.”
Powell still has a low opinion of Dick Cheney
Powell panned former Vice President Dick Cheney’s efforts to promote the book he co-authored with his daughter Liz Cheney, which they promoted in media appearances last year.
“They are idiots and spent force peddling a book that ain’t going nowhere,” Powell wrote to former Reagan White House chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein on the book released in September 2015.
He thought Benghazi was a ‘stupid witch hunt’
Powell’s email declaring that “Benghazi is a stupid witch hunt” is revealing coming from a former GOP official. It was underscored by his Republican successor, Condoleezza Rice, replying, “Completely agree.”
Powell wrote that the “basic fault” rested with Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in the 2012 attacks on the compound in Libya, for thinking “Libyans now love me and I am ok in this very vulnerable place.”
“But blame also rests on his leaders and supports back here,” Powell wrote. “Pat Kennedy, Intel community, DS and yes HRC.” The DS likely refers to State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
‘Bimbos’ and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonVirginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Business coalition aims to provide jobs to Afghan refugees Biden nominates ex-State Department official as Export-Import Bank leader MORE
Powell dipped into tabloid reports of Bill Clinton’s alleged affairs in weighing whether to cast a vote for a woman whose husband is “still dicking bimbos at home.”
“I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect,” Powell wrote in July 2014 to Democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds.
While Powell said he respects Hillary Clinton, he also had some criticism for her.
He referred to Clinton, 68, as a “70-year person with a long track record” and “unbridled ambition,” and called her “greedy” and “not transformational” before including the line on “bimbos.”