Flake comes out against releasing Nunes memo
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan pair of senators are urging President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports 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 FlakeCindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' Arizona state GOP moves to censure Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake Arizona county's Republican committee debates censuring Cindy McCain MORE (Ariz.) and Democratic Sen. Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsRomney calls for Senate to pass sanctions on Putin over Navalny poisoning Senate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster Security concerns mount ahead of Biden inauguration 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 ThuneMcConnell keeps GOP guessing on Trump impeachment Yellen champions big spending at confirmation hearing This week: Tensions running high in Trump's final days 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 NunesPelosi raises alarm after Trump loyalist installed as top NSA lawyer NSA places former GOP political operative in top lawyer position after Pentagon chief's reported order CIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report MORE (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has sparked a political firestorm in Washington.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office Trump turns his ire toward Cabinet members 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 RyanRevising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices Paul Ryan will attend Biden's inauguration COVID-19 relief bill: A promising first act for immigration reform 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 (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE’s Russia] investigation or the deputy attorney general,” Ryan said at the GOP retreat in West Virginia.