If leaders of the pro-life movement like Marjorie Dannenfelser and Fr. Frank Pavone are going to publicly support Donald Trump and urge us to do so as well, they owe us at least a candid appraisal of what Trump is likely to accomplish. After all, we are told that his newfound anti-abortion position should outweigh a long list of actions, words and convictions that should be offensive to most pro-lifers.

Trump’s own suspect history on abortion rights is well documented. He was strongly pro-choice until conveniently deciding to flirt with Republican presidential ambitions in 2011. Given that we cannot know what is in someone’s heart, we should give him the benefit of the doubt that his conversion was sincere.

But that does not mean we should be naive about the strength of his convictions. Early in his campaign he oddly asserted that he is pro-life but prefers not to talk about it. As recently as this past March he stated in an interview with CBS that abortion rights are the law of the land and should be left as such. During the longest convention speech by a Republican candidate in modern history, he failed to mention the issue even once. In the second debate, when asked directly about the Supreme Court, the case of Roe v. Wade did not merit his mention. And even when asked more directly about abortion in the third debate, Trump was somewhat evasive and careful to reassure the audience that abortion would still be available in states that want it.

All of this matters because given the formidable institutional obstacles, it will take a president with strong convictions on this issue to actually make a difference — convictions that Trump seems to lack.

There appears to be an overly optimistic assumption among Trump supporters that he will easily replace Antonin Scalia and name other justices as well. I doubt Democratic senators see it that way. After Republican obstruction over the Merrick Garland nomination, Democrats are ready for a fight, and given projections of what the new Senate will look like, they will easily feel justified in blocking Trump’s nominees — unless, of course, he plays ball with them. Will Trump will fight for a pro-life justice in this likely scenario? Or will he negotiate away a conviction he never seemed to hold too strongly from the beginning?

Even if a filibuster fails, Trump will likely face a closely divided Senate that will include pro-choice Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who could reject a nominee if he or she actually makes it to a vote. This becomes relevant for other potential pro-life policies as well, such as defunding Planned Parenthood. Will Trump commit his energies to this policy, or will the man who praised Planned Parenthood during the campaign be too distracted by trying to build a wall and chasing other priorities to which he actually appears committed?

Some will object that even if all of this is true, the pro-life movement would still be better served by Trump than Clinton. That may well be the case, but it is not an excuse to be overly sanguine about what a President Trump would likely accomplish. An uncomfortable reality for some pro-lifers is that since its peak in 1990, the number of abortions declined at least as fast under Democratic presidents as under Republican ones. This suggests that the presidency does not necessarily affect abortion as much as some in the pro-life movement would like us to believe.

The pro-life movement deserves great credit for its many successes in promoting the dignity and value of all human beings. Great challenges lie ahead under either a President Trump or President Clinton, and the voters deserve a frank assessment about this, not more hyperbole.

Scott Liebertz is an assistant professor of political science and criminal justice at the University of South Alabama. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

Trump: FBI 'revolt' led to reopened Clinton investigation

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Donald Trump said Saturday that the reopening of an investigation into Hillary Clinton was the result of a “revolt” at the FBI for not pursuing Clinton earlier.

“I’ll bet you, without any knowledge, there was a revolt in the FBI,” Trump said while in Colorado on Saturday. “I’ll bet you there was a revolt in the FBI by what they allowed to happen with respect to Hillary Clinton.”

The FBI reopened its investigation on Friday into Clinton’s use of a private email server to handle classified emails while serving as Secretary of State. It said it found over 1,000 new emails from a separate investigation that required it to reopen the case. The FBI had closed the investigation earlier this year after finding little evidence of

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Hillary Clinton maintains in public she’s not worried the 2016 election will be impacted by FBI Director James. B. Comey’s letter to Congress this week, but her campaign and its allies are treating news that federal investigators have found additional emails related to her private homebrew server as an emergency event.

“You know, I think people a long time ago made up their minds about the emails. I think that’s factored in to what people think and now they’re choosing a president,” the Democratic nominee said at a press conference Friday evening as she downplayed a story that had dominated the day’s news cycle.

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