Flake comes out against releasing Nunes memo
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan pair of senators are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Zucker: Trump 'secretly watching CNN' all day and night GOP candidate behind 'Deportation Bus' loses in gubernatorial bid Penn to Hewitt: Mueller probe born out of ‘hysteria’ MORE to not allow a GOP memo accusing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI of abusing their power to be publicly released.

GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeRepublicans think Trump is losing trade war On Trump and DOJ, both liberals and conservatives are missing the point Pressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn MORE (Ariz.) and Democratic Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsOvernight Finance: House sends Dodd-Frank rollbacks to Trump | What's in the bill | Trump says there is 'no deal' to help ZTE | Panel approves bill to toughen foreign investment reviews Congress, Trump eye new agency to invest in projects overseas On World Press Freedom Day, elected officials must commit to keeping press freedom nonpartisan MORE (Del.) — both members of the Judiciary Committee — said Trump "should heed the warnings" from the DOJ and FBI, where top officials have taken issue with the forthcoming report. 

"The president’s apparent willingness to release this memo risks undermining U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts, politicizing Congress’ oversight role, and eroding confidence in our institutions of government," the senators said in a joint statement. 

Flake, who is retiring after 2018 and has been a vocal Trump critic, is one of few GOP senators to openly oppose releasing the memo. Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThunePoll: 8 in 10 people in key states concerned about driverless cars Hillicon Valley: Mnuchin urges antitrust review of tech | Progressives want to break up Facebook | Classified election security briefing set for Tuesday | Tech CEOs face pressure to appear before Congress Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA MORE (S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, also urged caution earlier Thursday in releasing the memo.

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An official said Thursday that Trump would tell Congress "probably tomorrow" of his decision. The official said the president did not have any national security objections to releasing the memo and likely wouldn't request to redact any material.

The memo compiled by GOP staff for Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesConservatives leery of FBI deal on informant Schumer: GOP lawmakers tell me Nunes is ‘off the deep end’ No Dems invited to attend meeting on Russia docs MORE (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has sparked a political firestorm in Washington.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinPenn to Hewitt: Mueller probe born out of ‘hysteria’ Conservatives leery of FBI deal on informant GOP senator: Trump has no right to influence an investigation MORE reportedly warned the White House against releasing the document, while the FBI, in a rare public statement, said it had "grave concerns" about the memo.

The White House is reportedly worried that FBI Director Christopher Wray will quit if it the memo is released over his objection.

Flake and Coons said Thursday that releasing the memo would "defy longstanding policies regarding the disclosure of classified information." 

The House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines earlier this week to publicly release the memo, which is said to contain allegations that the FBI improperly surveilled Trump campaign communications.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanConservatives leery of FBI deal on informant Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — House passes 'right to try' drug bill | Trump moves to restrict abortion referrals Hillicon Valley: Trump claims 'no deal' to help Chinese company ZTE | Congress briefed on election cyber threats | Mueller mystery - Where's indictment for DNC hack? | Zuckerberg faces tough questions in Europe MORE (R-Wis.) defended Nunes earlier Thursday, saying Democrats are "playing politics and they’re just looking for a political distraction" from the GOP tax plan.

“Devin Nunes helped shepherd through a reauthorization of … the foreign terrorist surveillance law. So he’s focusing on keeping our country safe, focusing on national security," he said. "I think what they are trying to do is sidetrack us for some political gain.”

But Ryan also said he didn't think the memo served as "an indictment on our institutions, of our justice system."

"This memo is not an indictment of the FBI, of the Department of Justice. It does not impugn [Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s Russia] investigation or the deputy attorney general,” Ryan said at the GOP retreat in West Virginia.