Former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin on Wednesday charged that congressional Republicans were aware of Russian efforts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election but didn't do anything about it.
“Look, the truth is it’s been very obvious for leaders in Washington on the Republican side that the Russians have been undermining our democracy, or did undermine our democracy,” McMullin said at an event hosted by Politio.
“I know because I know for a fact that they know this. It was a topic of discussion during the election and they chose not to stand up.”
A secret CIA assessment first reported by The Washington Post concluded Russia intervened in the presidential election to help Donald TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE win the presidency. Trump and his aides have since blasted the report, with the president-elect calling it "ridiculous" that Russia would work to help him.
McMullin said Republicans are now "sticking their heads in the sand on this issue as they did during the campaign."
“I will tell you, this is not a new issue," he said.
"They knew during the campaign that this was happening and they chose not to say anything because they knew it would harm them politically. That is the issue, the sacrifice of principle for power, the sacrifice of the country’s interests for the party’s interests.”
McMullin also criticized the president-elect's nominee for secretary of State, Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Tillerson was a "predictable pick," McMullin said, but is "somebody who will not stand up to what Donald Trump intends to do, which is a realignment, a strategic realignment of the United States with Russia."
McMullin has said he would like to see Tillerson's nomination blocked.