During an interview with CNN on Friday, June 19, the former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell used the outlet’s erroneous reporting to explain how leaks from former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book could be both classified and false.

In his tell-all book, “The Room Where It Happened,” Bolton makes a series of damning claims about President Trump’s conduct in office and alleges that the president may have committed multiple impeachable offenses. Bolton’s allegations have sparked a barrage of criticisms from the president and members of the administration. 

President Trump slammed Bolton’s forthcoming memoirs as “pure fiction.” The Justice Department argued that Bolton’s book contains classified information and was seeking an emergency injunction and a temporary restraining order preventing the release of the book on June 23—the move is interpreted by mainstream media and Democrats as the details in the book are true.

“There can be a nugget of classified information, there can be something in there that shows sources and methods, it can be talking about things that are classified, but then completely gone in another direction, completely made up, completely misused,” Grenell explained to CNN anchor Erin Burnett. “Life is not so simple that it’s either or.”

“You can tell a story that has a nugget of classified information that is a totally erroneous story that goes off on a tangent and gives a false impression,” Grenell continued.

Grenell went on to clarify his comments by giving an example of CNN reporting on Kim Jong Un’s death that turned out to be false after state media showed evidence that Kim was still alive.

“Now, I can’t go into great details, but the fact of the matter is, that was erroneous but had a nugget of classified information in there, and we couldn’t correct the record because of classified sources and methods,” he said. “But that story ran for a very long time, and people believed it, and then, it was never really corrected later on.”

Bolton last year angered Democrats after he declined to testify before House impeachment investigators and even threatened to challenge a subpoena in court if he received one. Following the release of excerpts from his book, Democrats excoriated Bolton as “unpatriotic” who is just trying to sell books.

Grenell blasted Bolton over his soon-to-be-released book, saying, “Everyone should be troubled by someone who refuses to testify under oath but is willing to talk under a book deal.”

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