On Monday, POLITICO's Burgess Everett reported that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the rightmost member of the Democratic caucus and an essential person for Republicans to peel off if they want to block President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, is unimpressed with the attacks by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on her sentencing record.
"You sure it was Hawley, right?" Manchin was quoted as saying. "Take that for what it's worth."
Manchin signals Hawley\u2019s line that KBJ is soft on crime and lenient on child porn sentencing isn\u2019t moving him\n\n\u201cYou\u2019re sure it was Hawley right? Take that for what it\u2019s worth\u201d— Burgess Everett (@Burgess Everett) 1647898506
Hawley's claims that Jackson is soft on child pornography offenders, or ruled they merited less harsh sentencing, has been widely debunked by fact-checkers, noting that she simply was part of a committee that advised Congress to study whether mandatory minimums for these offenses were effective. Andrew McCarthy of the right-wing National Review called the senator's claim an "outright smear."
Some observers have also noted Hawley's attacks recall the QAnon conspiracy theory movement, which holds that the government is protecting a secret society of Satanic child traffickers who consume human flesh to achieve immortality.
All of this comes after reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has privately urged the GOP caucus not to do too much mudslinging over the nomination of Jackson, the first Black woman to be considered for the Supreme Court.
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