They showed the statesman's private thoughts on Trump and Clinton
Washington (CNN)Leaked emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell show him strongly criticizing Donald Trump, labeling him a "national disgrace and an international pariah."
He also called the birther movement, which the Republican presidential nominee helped lead, "racist."
"That's what the 99% believe. 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 in an August email.
The messages, the existence of which were first reported by BuzzFeed and The Intercept, were posted to DCleaks, an organization affiliated with other recent hacks of high-profile figures.
Peggy Cifrino, an aide to Powell, told CNN: "The emails are accurate. No further comment at this time."
GOP senator challenged: Who's worse, Trump or Clinton?01:04
The emails are notable for their candor about Trump. Powell, who oversaw the State Department during the beginning of George W. Bush's administration, hasn't endorsed Trump and has largely sidestepped questions about his thoughts on the controversial GOP nominee.
Powell also lampooned Trump's proposal that he could win over the African-American population.
"For him to say yesterday that within four years he would have 95% of blacks voting for him is schizo fantasy," Powell wrote, adding, "And (former Fox News chief Roger) Ailes as an adviser won't heal with women."