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Secretary Ben Carson. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has been in hot water in recent weeks over reports that he ordered a $31,000 dining set for his office using taxpayer dollars. His latest explanation, on Tuesday: "I left it to my wife."

The bigger picture: Carson joins other cabinet officials who have been scrutinized for seemingly lavish spending. From a cost standpoint, his case is far from the most eye-popping — but it includes some particularly interesting twists and turns.

February 27: The NYT breaks the news of the purchase. HUD spokesman Raffi Williams tells the Times that Carson "didn’t know the table had been purchased," but doesn't plan to return it and doesn't believe it cost too much.

February 28: CNN reports that Trump is "furious" about the story.

March 1: Carson's business manager, Armstrong Williams, tells the NYT that Carson has requested the purchase be cancelled. Carson also says in a statement that no one "was more surprised than me" about the purchase.

March 14: Emails dug up by CNN reveal that Carson and his wife knew about the purchase, and selected the table themselves.

March 16: Chief of staff John Kelly says that the purchase is justifiable because it could last up to 100 years.

March 20: Carson says the table was his wife's choice, as he isn't "big into redecorating," per the NYT: “I left it to my wife, you know, to choose something. I dismissed myself from the issues.”

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.