Mike Lee spoke with Trump about Supreme Court opening

Mike Lee spoke with Trump about Supreme Court opening
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThis week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos Ex-college classmate accuses Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week MORE (R-Utah) spoke with President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE amid his search for a Supreme Court nominee, the White House said Tuesday. 

“Yesterday, the president spoke on the phone with Sen. Mike Lee," spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement. 

No further details about the conversation were provided.

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Lee's communications director, Conn Carroll, previously confirmed a Deseret News report that the two men had a telephone interview about the opening created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s impending retirement. But the White House did not describe the discussion as an interview. 

Lee told the news outlet that he spoke with Trump about the position but did not reveal the outcome of the discussion.

The Utah senator, a former federal prosecutor and Supreme Court clerk, has openly acknowledged he would welcome a nomination to the nation’s highest court.

Lee is on the president's list of 25 potential candidates that Trump said he'd use to select Kennedy's replacement but is not believed to be on Trump’s short list.

Trump told reporters on Monday that he’d met with four potential nominees to replace Kennedy. The president praised them as “outstanding people," but did not provide their names. He said he plans to meet with two or three more candidates before making a final decision “over the next few days.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was equally tight-lipped about the identity of Trump's preferred candidates. She said Trump met with four candidates on Monday for 45 minutes but declined to name names.

The Washington Post reported that federal appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett were among the individuals who met with Trump. Both are considered front-runners to be nominated as Kennedy's replacement.

The president said on Friday he had narrowed his list of 25 possible nominees to five, including two women. He has said he plans to announce the pick on July 9.

Kennedy announced last week he will retire from the Supreme Court on July 31, providing Trump with an opportunity to make a second justice appointment and further shape the future of the court.

Updated at 2:14 p.m.