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John McCain calls "alt-right" attacks on H.R. McMaster “disgraceful”

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, called the "the so-called 'alt-right'" movement's attacks on President Trump's national security adviser H.R. McMaster "disgraceful" in a statement released today.

Right-wing groups and websites have criticized McMaster after his removal of several people from the National Security Council (NSC). The removals include former Senior Director for Intelligence programs at the NSC, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was dismissed by McMaster from the administration in early August.

Michael Cernovich, a right-wing blogger, launched a website with the intent of seeking potentially damaging information on McMaster, both from inside and outside the White House. In the past, Cernovich has posted stories on a separate website attacking former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, falsely claiming that she has Parkinson's disease and that her "inner circle" was involved in a sex cult. 

McCain, who has known McMaster for several years, denounced the anti-McMaster movement and their efforts to damage his reputation.

"Since this fringe movement cannot attract the support of decent Americans, it resorts to impugning the character of a good man and outstanding soldier who has served honorably in uniform and sacrificed more for our country than any of his detractors ever have," McCain's statement reads.

Adding fuel to the anti-McMaster efforts, the national security adviser dodged questions relating to his willingness to work with White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in a Meet the Press (NBC) interview on Sunday. Prior to his role in both the Trump campaign and administration, Bannon ran Breitbart, a far right-wing news service. In recent weeks, the website has run several articles which are highly critical of McMaster.

"Such smear tactics should not be tolerated and deserve an emphatic response," McCain said. "I hope the president will once again stand up for his national security adviser and denounce these repugnant attacks, which arise from the same purveyors of hatred and ignorance who precipitated the recent violence in Charlottesville."

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    Blair Guild is a politics reporter and video producer for CBS News Digital.