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Jonathan Swan Apr 28, 2017
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White House advisor: Trump not backing off religious freedom promise

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Leonard Leo, an influential social conservative who advises the White House on judicial matters, tells me speculation that President Trump has abandoned a core campaign promise on religious rights — based on delays over an executive order — is misguided.

Why this matters: Social conservatives care deeply about the issue — that religious institutions should be exempted from providing contraception in their employee health plans. Several movement leaders have told me privately that they worry Trump has judged this too politically risky to bother with.

But Leo tells me the delay has nothing to do with that. He says senior officials at the Justice Department and the White House are working through complicated negotiations over how to structure health insurance transactions.