Flake comes out against releasing Nunes memo
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan pair of senators are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report 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 FlakeTrump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Voters will punish Congress for ignoring duty on war and peace GOP Senate candidate truncates Trump tweet in campaign mailer MORE (Ariz.) and Democratic Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsWhite House weighs clawing back State, foreign aid funding Graham: Flynn should lose security clearance On The Money: Senators propose 'crushing' Russia sanctions | Trump calls for food stamp work requirements in farm bill | China tells US to 'chill' on trade | Apple hits trillion in value 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 ThuneSenate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up GOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Ex-Trump adviser: Shutdown 'not worst idea in the world' MORE (S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, also urged caution earlier Thursday in releasing the memo.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 NunesPelosi sees defections from an unusual quarter — the left Jim Carrey targets McCarthy, Nunes ahead of midterms Police close Nunes district office as protesters rally outside MORE (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has sparked a political firestorm in Washington.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinFive things to know about Bruce Ohr, the DOJ official under fire from Trump Preet Bharara: ‘God bless the Deep State’ if it’s people who care about the law FBI chief: I'm trying to bring 'normalcy' in 'turbulent times' 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 RyanThree scenarios for how leadership races could play out in the House New Dem ad uses Paterno, KKK, affair allegations to tar GOP leaders House Dem: Party's aging leaders is 'a problem' 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.