Richard Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence, schooled CNN host Eric Burnett on Friday, explaining why the publication of John Bolton's forthcoming White House memoir is problematic.
The Justice Department sued to stop the publication of the tell-all book this week, claiming it contained classified national security information. President Donald Trump, however, alleged the book is "full of lies." Burnett challenged Grenell over the president's assertion that the book is both "highly classified" and "fake."
"So, which is it, ambassador?" Burnett asked. "It can't be both."
But, according to Grenell, Bolton's book can contain allegations that are both false and classified.
"Of course, it can be both. What are you talking about? Life is not simple—" Grenell responded.
"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," he explained.
"Life is not so simple that it's either/or," Grenell continued. "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."
To press home his point, Grenell pointed out that "CNN reported for a very long time that Kim Jong-un was brain dead." He explained, "The fact of the matter is that was erroneous but had a nugget of classified information in there."
Watch: @RichardGrenell explains to @ErinBurnett how something can be classified and completely wrong at the same ti… https://t.co/Zmu1qzfVQ9— Arthur Schwartz (@Arthur Schwartz) 1592611633.0
On Saturday, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that publication of Bolton's book could move forward, but said the former national security adviser's "unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns."
Bolton's book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," will be released on Tuesday, June 23.