A bipartisan group of senators is calling for an investigation into whether Russia tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Dec. 2, 2016. Dmitri Lovetsky/Russia

UPDATED: 4:35 p.m. EST — Illinois Republicans Sunday contradicted Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, who said GOP email hadn’t been hacked.

The Chicago Tribune quoted Illinois GOP head Nick Klitzing as saying 18 of the party’s emails turned up on DCLeaks.com, a site reportedly created and controlled by a unit of Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU. The party was notified by the FBI of the hack, which dated from 2015 and involved four email accounts that were inactive or rarely used.

Illinois Republican leader Nick Klitzing says the party's emails were hacked. Pictured are Chicago voters during the primary, March 15, 2016. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Original story:

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said Sunday he thinks Russia’s alleged efforts to influence the U.S. election was a bid for revenge against Hillary Clinton.

But Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who has been designated Republican Donald Trump’s chief of staff, and spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway said they’re not convinced Russia had any role in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee or the email account of John Podesta, Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded last week Russia was behind the hacks that produced a series of documents leaked to WikiLeaks and released in dribs and drabs during the final months of the campaign.

Trump said he does not believe the intelligence conclusions, calling them “ridiculous” in a “Fox News Sunday” interview. He said it’s just another excuse being ginned up by Democrats to explain why they lost the election.

McFaul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to help Trump win the election to hurt the former secretary of state because “Putin thinks [Clinton] interfered in his election — the parliamentary election in December 2011 — and has said as much publicly, and I’ve heard him talk about it privately.”

"It's very rational in my view that [Putin] would rather see President-elect Trump be the next president of the United States instead of Secretary Clinton," he said since Putin and Trump are on the same side of many policy issues.

Priebus appeared on several of the Sunday morning talk shows, denying any hackers gained access to Republican data.

On both CNN’s “State of the Union,” "Meet the Press" and ABC’s “This Week,” Priebus attacked the New York Times story on the intelligence agency conclusions because it quoted “senior administration sources” rather than naming any individuals. The report said Russia also had hacked the RNC but declined to release any damaging information gleaned from that foray.

“The entire report is based on unnamed sources who are perhaps doing something they shouldn’t be doing by speaking to reporters or speaking out of line,” Priebus said, adding he knows of “no instance” where RNC data was compromised.

Despite Trump’s rejection of the CIA’s conclusions on the hacking, Conway said the president-elect “respects” the intelligence community and called suspicions of Russian influence “laughable and ridiculous.”

“It’s untrue and it’s also unfair,” she said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” adding that allegations like this “undercut” the peaceful transition of power.

Lawmakers, however, are not willing to put the issue aside.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called the Russian hack, if proved, “a form of warfare” on “This Week.”

“For Putin to be trying to impact our election, he has to be held accountable,” she said.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Jack Reed, D-R.l., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., issued a statement calling for an investigation.

“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property. Now our democratic institutions have been targeted,” the statement said. “Recent reports of Russian interference should alarm every American.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who sought the Republican presidential nomination but quit early in the primaries, agreed on “This Week” an investigation is necessary.

"I think we need to get to the bottom of it," he said. "And I think there should be an investigation because in order to defend ourselves against other adversarial countries, we have to protect our information."

McCain, on “Face the Nation,” said a select committee should be set up to investigate the matter, but in the meantime, the Senate Armed Services Committee would begin an inquiry.

"It's clear the Russians interfered," McCain said. "Now, whether they intended to interfere to the degree that they were trying to elect a certain candidate, I think that's a subject of investigation.

"The Russians have interfered in a lot of other elections," part of an effort to regain “prominence and dominance in some parts of the world,” McCain said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the hacking allegations “very serious stuff” on “Face the Nation” and criticized Trump for dismissing the issue.

"We've got to take a hard look at the role that the Russians played in this election process. We'll see where the investigation goes. But for Donald Trump to summarily dismiss all of this makes no sense to me at all," Sanders said.