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Evan McMullin launches new conservative organization, takes on Trump-Putin connections

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Evan McMullin announces his presidential campaign as an Independent candidate on Aug. 10, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Former presidential candidate Evan McMullin and his former running mate, Mindy Finn, launched a new conservative organization Wednesday, and one of its first actions was to question President Donald Trump’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

McMullin, who launched a long-shot bid for the White House last year in order to present an alternative for conservatives dissatisfied with Trump’s candidacy, said in an interview with the Washington Examiner that he sees the new group, “Stand Up Republic,” as a home for conservative activists who remain opposed to Trump’s populist platform.

"Our goals are to grow a grassroots movement that will be able to exert influence over both the president and members of Congress," McMullin told the Examiner of the new 501(c)4 group.

A video announcing the group’s launch features clips of former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Finn fired back when asked if she and McMullin were merely “sore losers” following Trump’s election, and said that she and her former running mate remain dedicated to traditional conservative principles.

"We are conservatives who have concerns about this administration taking this country further away from liberty," Finn told the Examiner. "A huge number of people on the right share those concerns — and they're valid concerns — and we believe someone needs to stand up for them. We need to do that in a constructive way."

Stand Up Republic's first television ad questions Trump’s position on Putin.

"Vladimir Putin is carrying out a campaign to subvert democracies across Europe, and here," McMullin added. "We're standing up to that."

The Examiner reported that the ad will air during MSNBC's "Morning Joe" because the president is a known viewer of the program.

During his campaign, Trump praised Putin as a “leader” who has “very strong control over a country.”

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