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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.

Jonathan Swan 4 hours ago
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Bolton bombshell: the clashes to come

John Bolton
John Bolton speaks at CPAC in 2016. Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sources close to President Trump say he feels John Bolton, hurriedly named last night to replace H.R. McMaster as national security adviser, will finally deliver the foreign policy the president wants — particularly on Iran and North Korea.

Why it matters: We can’t overstate how dramatic a change it is for Trump to replace H.R. McMaster with Bolton, who was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush.

Erica Pandey 5 hours ago
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How China became a global power of espionage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

As China’s influence spreads to every corner of the globe under President Xi Jinping, so do its spies.

Why it matters: China has the money and the ambition to build a vast foreign intelligence network, including inside the United States. Meanwhile, American intelligence-gathering on China is falling short, Chris Johnson, a former senior China analyst for the CIA who's now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells Axios: "We have to at least live up to [China's] expectations. And we aren't doing that."