In our news wrap Tuesday, the Trump administration ordered 15 Cuban diplomats to leave the U.S. within a week as a way to match the withdrawal of U.S. diplomats in Havana, who suffered from unexplained illnesses. Also, The Pentagon is backing diplomatic efforts with North Korea, after the president tweeted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time" negotiating.
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In the day's other news: President Trump got a first-hand look at hurricane damage on the island of Puerto Rico. He spent much of the day on the U.S. territory, after rejecting criticism of his administration's response. He also said that compared to — quote — "a real catastrophe," like Hurricane Katrina, Puerto Rico suffered relatively less.
We will have a full report later in the program.
The Trump administration today ordered 15 Cuban diplomats to leave the United States within one week. It's meant to match the withdrawal of 60 percent of U.S. diplomats from Havana. The State Department defended the moves today, citing unexplained attacks on Americans in Cuba that damage hearing and vision.
HEATHER NAUERT, Spokesperson, State Department:
We have certainly been harmed in our ability to do our jobs down there, OK? And now Cuba, we have this — not reciprocity, but something of similar sorts where they don't have the ability to conduct their operations, just like we…
So this is a punishment?
No, this is not a punishment. This is not a punishment.
Cuba called the U.S. move unjustified.
The Pentagon's chief is backing diplomatic efforts with North Korea, after President Trump disparaged the idea. Over the weekend, he tweeted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was — quote — "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with Kim Jong-un.
Today, Defense Secretary James Mattis weighed in on the issue at a Senate hearing.
JAMES MATTIS, Secretary of Defense: The Defense Department supports fully Secretary Tillerson's efforts to find a diplomatic solution.
I believe that Secretary Tillerson is accurately stating that we are probing for opportunities to talk with the North. All we are doing is probing. We're not talking with them, consistent with the president's dismay about not talking with them before the time is right.
Separately, Mattis said he believes Iran is fundamentally in compliance with the terms of its nuclear deal. President Trump has accused Iran of violating the spirit of the deal.
This year's Nobel Prize in physics goes to three scientists who were the first to detect gravitational waves in space. The announcement in Stockholm today named Americans Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology, and German-born Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
RAINER WEISS, Co-Winner, Nobel Prize in Physics: I would love to be able to talk to Albert Einstein right now, if I could, and tell him about that we have seen gravitation waves, because he was skeptical about that. And I would be even more pleased to tell him about black holes, which he was very skeptical about.
Einstein predicted that — gravitational waves, or faint ripples in space and time, a century ago, but he said he doubted they could ever be confirmed.
Today's Nobel winners detected waves caused by the collision of two black holes more than a billion light-years away.
The former CEO of Equifax publicly apologized today for the credit bureau's massive data breach. The theft potentially affects more than 145 million Americans. Richard Smith told a House hearing that Equifax is working to restore consumer trust. Lawmakers from both parties charged that the company's response has been confusing and inadequate.
Yahoo now says that its data breach in 2013 affected all three billion of its accounts at the time. That's three times larger than initially reported. The company says it's notifying the additional account holders via e-mail.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 84 points to close at 22641. The Nasdaq rose nearly 15, and the S&P 500 added five.