Mar 14, 2018

HUD emails: Ben Carson and his wife "picked out" $31,000 dining set

Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and his wife, Candy, "picked out" a $31,000 dining set for a dining room at HUD, according to internal emails obtained by CNN after a FOIA request by liberal watchdog American Oversight. A HUD spokesman had previously stated that the Carsons had "no awareness" about the set's purchase and Carson himself issued a statement that he was "surprised" about the price.

Why it matters: Trump Cabinet officials — from VA Secretary David Shulkin to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke — are currently facing a stream of damaging stories over spending issues.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 5,653,821 — Total deaths: 353,414 — Total recoveries — 2,325,989Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 1,694,599 — Total deaths: 100,047 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Business: African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs saysDisney plans phased reopening on July 11Author Ann Patchett says bookstores are innovating to stay connected with customers.
  5. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  6. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
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Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump administration to eliminate nuclear waivers tied to Iran deal

Pompeo testifies on Iran in February. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The U.S. is ending waivers that had allowed foreign companies to work at Iran's civilian nuclear facilities, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday.

Why it matters: This will eliminate most elements of U.S. sanctions relief still in place two years after President Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo said "continued nuclear escalation" made the move necessary, but critics warn it will encourage further Iranian enrichment.

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.