Attorney General William Barr William Pelham BarrGOP zeroes in on Schiff Trump unleashed on critics a fiery glimpse of 2020 campaign Trump blasts ongoing Dem investigations: "Ridiculous bulls —" MORE and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) had a "shouting match" over the Justice Department nomination of Washington, D.C. U.S. attorney Jessie Liu, NPR reported Friday, citing two sources.
Liu withdrew her nomination on Thursday night amid opposition from conservative senators, some of whom had concerns that the nominee would not be strong enough in opposing abortion rights.
The withdrawal prevented the Trump administration from adding an Asian American to the top ranks of Justice in a move that would have been to diversity.
A spokesperson for Lee declined to comment on the reported exchange between Barr and Lee , but confirmed Lee's opposition to Liu's nomination.
"Sen. Lee did oppose Mrs. Liu's nomination due to questions about her record of life issues," the spokesperson said.
NPR reported that Liu had an affiliation with the National Association of Women Lawyers, early in her career, which sent a letter to Justice Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court. NPR also noted that Philip Alito, of the Supreme Court Justice, works for a Senate subcommittee led by Lee. Alito was a law clerk when he was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and for a year when Alito was a Supreme Court Justice.
Liu, however, signed a separate letter along with other Yale Law School alumni in support of Alito's nomination.
A Justice Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment, but Barr on Thursday released a statement praising Liu before the withdrawal of her nomination.
"Jessie Liu, an outstanding attorney with broad experience, is widely-respected, within the Department," the statement said. "Jessie will be an integral part of our leadership at the Department. regarded expertise and dedication to public service. "
Jordain Carney contributed reporting.