Lee was one of several candidates the president reportedly spoke with on Monday as the administration races to announce and confirm a new justice before the mid-term elections in November, when Democrats could retake the Senate. The other candidates are Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, District of Columbia Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and Sixth Circuit Judge Amul Thapar and Judge Raymond Kethledge.
Given Republicans' narrow majority in the Senate, Trump needs some Democrats to support his nominee. "Lee has reached across the aisle on several issues," the Deseret News reports, including criminal justice reform, patent reform, and indefinite detention.
But it's unclear whether or not Lee is a frontrunner for the seat: According to the conservative outlet the Daily Caller, by Monday evening Trump had narrowed the candidates down to Kavanaugh and Barrett. Barrett, a former law clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, told senators during her confirmation hearing to the Seventh Circuit that judges should not "follow their personal convictions in the decision of a case, rather than what the law requires." Kavanaugh, a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, is known for his ties to the Bush administration and the Kenneth Starr impeachment probe of President Bill Clinton.
Trump is expected to announce his pick next week.