"He hacked into the Democrats' computers and helped [then-candidate] Trump get elected basically by exposing [former Clinton aide John] Podesta's emails and then Comey went after Hillary …That's why Trump won basically in 2016," she said.
Assange controversially leaked emails from the Clinton camp and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016 — prompting questions about whether he communicated with the Trump campaign or Russian hackers. A grand jury indicted Assange on Thursday, however, over his role in leaking classified information with the help of former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning.
While some have heralded Assange as a champion of transparency and free speech, others, like co-hosts Meghan McCain and Abby Huntsman, saw him as a threat to national security.
"The reason the Obama administration and [former Attorney General] Eric Holder decided … that our Constitution protected Julian Assange is because our Constitution does protect Julian Assange," co-host Sunny Hostin said before McCain attempted to interject.
"The Constitution protects freedom of the press," Hostin, an attorney, said. "It is our First Amendment to the Constitution because, I believe, it's our most important amendment so it is very clear that the Constitution protects information, investigative journalism, even if that information is gotten illegally — even if that information is a matter of national security."
On Thursday, Wikileaks responded to Assange's indictment, calling it madness and "the end" of the First Amendment.
McCain blasted Hostin's words as "propaganda" and decried how the leaked information put U.S. officials "at risk."
Huntsman also pushed back on Hostin's First Amendment defense, claiming that Assange appeared to commit a "crime" by meddling in the 2016 election. McCain also called Assange's actions "cyberterrorism."