When “The View” addressed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange‘s arrest in London on Thursday, co-hosts Meghan McCain and Sunny Hostin didn’t hold back their feelings, arguing over whether he’s protected by the First Amendment.
Whoopi Goldberg began the segment by reading a tweet from WikiLeaks’ official Twitter account, which said in part that Assange “has won dozens of journalism awards” and has “been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 2010.”
“This is just a campaign by the CIA to delegitimize and dehumanize him,” Goldberg, 63, continued before opening up the panel.
At one point during the discussion, Goldberg asked what her fellow co-hosts thought was “going to happen” to Assange, who hours before his arrest was charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for his work aiding Chelsea Manning in cracking a password that helped her gain access to classified U.S. government files in 2010.
“I hope he rots in hell!” McCain, 34, stated.
Responded Hostin, 50: “I think that if you have a problem with Julian Assange and what he released in terms of national security, then you need to have a problem with the Pentagon Papers, you need to have a problem with the Panama Papers, you need to have a problem with the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs being released.
“Because those items, I think being released, protected our democracy and the reason that the Obama administration and Eric Holder decided not to punt, but decided that our constitution protected Julian Assange is because our constitution does protect Julian Assange.”
“I’m sorry, ” McCain quickly interjected. “I’ve got to push back hard on that.”
“You can push back after I’ve finished speaking,” Hostin fired back. “The Constitution protects freedom of the press.
“It is our First Amendment to the Constitution because I believe it is our most important amendment, so it is very clear that the Constitution protects information, investigative journalism even if that information is gotten illegally,” she continued. “Even if that information is a matter of national security.”
“I think what you said was just straight propaganda, just so we’re clear,” McCain told Hostin. “I’m sorry.”
“Well, if the law is propaganda, then I’m sorry,” responded Hostin, which drew a fiery response from McCain.
“They’re not First Amendment,” McCain lamented. “He was a cyber-terrorist from Day 1, which is how we got in the situation we’re in right now.”
Fox News’ Ryan Gados contributed to this report.