Lee, R-Utah, wouldn't discuss details of the conversation other than to confirm he wasn't Trump's choice but that he would attend the president's prime-time announcement of his pick.
Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 majority, making any efforts by Democrats to thwart Trump's nominee an uphill battle.
Barrett is among four federal judges on Trump's list of finalists that includes Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman.More news: Nick Kyrgios reflects on his Wimbledon win over Robin Haase
Democrats are ramping up opposition to the president's eventual pick with a focus on the prospect that the candidate that's confirmed would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, a decades-old ruling that struck down laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions.
John Roberts now serves as the chief White House correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). Sherpas to the nominee will act as a guide during the confirmation process - helping to set up meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and preparing for the eventual confirmation hearing. He was succeeded by Republican Jeff Flake in 2012 and is now senior counsel at Covington & Burling, the powerhouse bipartisan law and lobbying firm that boasts not just Kyl but also the likes of former Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
Trump's selection will set up a confirmation showdown in the U.S. Senate, where his fellow Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority, though with ailing Senator John McCain battling cancer in his home state of Arizona they now can muster only 50 votes. Kennedy, a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will get the first chance to question the nominee, predicted a "rough, tough, down in the dirt, ear-pulling, nose-biting fight". "I will tell you the men and women I work with on the Democratic side really take this seriously". But four Democrats from states Trump won in 2016 voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch previous year, leaving the Republicans room for error. Momentum appeared to be with Kavanaugh and Hardiman, though the process remained fluid. He financed his law degree at the Georgetown University Law Center by driving a taxi.
Hardiman, 53, has served on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2007, having been appointed by Republican former President George W. Bush, after four years as a U.S. district judge in western Pennsylvania.More news: USA puts fierce squeeze on breastfeeding policy, shocking health officials
But his supporters cite his experience and wide range of legal opinions.
Support for nomination: Barrett also served as a law clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who is beloved by conservatives. He co-authored a book with Army veteran Mike Erwin of The Positivity Project published a year ago called "Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude". "And I believe this person will do a great job", Trump said. Though Kennedy is a conservative, he was often a swing vote on big decisions, such as same-sex marriage, abortion and affirmative action.
A person familiar with the selection process earlier indicated Trump was narrowing the field, with Barrett the least likely among the four to be chosen. Republicans meanwhile are lobbying the White House on behalf of their preferred candidate.
A confirmation of Mr. Trump's nominee could give conservatives a reliable, long-term majority on the highest court.More news: UK: Dawn Sturgess dies after exposure to nerve agent Novichok
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