Has the #MeToo movement weakened due process?
That's the issue the co-hosts of "The View" were hashing out Tuesday following the publication of a New Yorker feature on sexual misconduct allegations against former Sen. Al Franken.
In the piece, Franken said he regrets resigning in 2017 before a Senate Ethics Committee could examine the credibility of the charges against him.
"The guy was just forced to resign," Joy Behar said of the former Minnesota senator, who told the New Yorker he stepped down following pressure from several of his colleagues. "The other thing about it is it was kind of a political hit in many ways. He was very much effective in questioning Jeff Sessions, which forced him to resign. And Betsy DeVos, he was after her. So he was a big target, you know."
Behar also said she was skeptical of the allegations by conservative radio host Leeann Tweeden, Franken's first accuser and a friend of Meghan McCain, Behar's co-host.
"Some of it has some holes," Behar said. "I'm not saying she's lying, but there are some holes in her story."
McCain was quick to defend her friend and slam the article.
"It doesn't talk about the seven other women who accused him of sexual misconduct – two while he was a sitting senator," she said. "It would be very uncomfortable for Democrats if Al Franken were sitting there questioning Brett Kavanaugh at the same time. The article only focuses on Leeann. It's not focusing on these seven other women at the same time."
FRANKEN UNFAIRLY PUSHED OUT? Former Sen. Al Franken spoke out in a new interview that he “absolutely” regrets resigning from the Senate after several women accused him of unwanted kissing or touching — the co-hosts discuss if he should have resigned. https://t.co/T7mdpCWAbv pic.twitter.com/IgyeA0NLZp— The View (@TheView) July 23, 2019
McCain added she thinks the issue of sexual assault should not be politicized.
"I don't think #MeToo and sexual assault should be about which party you vote in in the general election," she said.
Sunny Hostin added that while women's voices have not always been taken seriously by the criminal justice system, Franken still deserved due process.
"I always do tend to, because I was a sex crimes prosecutor, err on the side of believing women, and I think for far too long we haven't believed women," she said.
Behar responded people can believe women while also believing those accused deserve a trial.
McCain said her problem isn't with due process, but rather with the New Yorker, which she said treated Franken's accusations with more skepticism than it did Kavanaugh's when he was a nominee for the Supreme Court.
"Journalists should do their job, and it looks like Jane Mayer had a totally different experience reporting on Al Franken than she does Brett Kavanaugh, and that's my biggest problem, other than the obvious allegations of sexual assault," she said.
Whoopi Goldberg said as she sees it, the #MeToo movement has sometimes not left room for skepticism.
"Due process, to me, is a must, because this is what happens," she said, referencing Franken's resignation. "That's a witch hunt. Because the #MeToo movement came up, and everything anyone said, there was no space to say, 'Well, wait a minute. Let's talk about this.' "
Goldberg added that though the percentage of false accusations is small, due process will remain a necessity.
"Yeah, it's a small percentage, but you don't want your son to be the one that's being accused without getting due process," she said. "Unless you have due process in this country, we will be facing stuff that you can't even imagine. Somebody will say, 'It's them,' and they're gone. You can't do that. You must follow the law. Everybody, you must follow the law."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'The View' hosts debate due process, Al Franken's #MeToo accusations