Back in February, U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta was spotted grabbing a bite with Justice Samuel Alito Jr. at the downtown Washington restaurant Central Michel Richard. Acosta wasn’t meeting a stranger. He clerked for Alito in the early 1990s when he was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Washington dinners and lunches are a regular source of gossip and intrigue, as appearances and connections sometimes end up featured in news reports and raise questions about influence and intentions. Cabinet secretaries’ schedules can provide a peek into Washington’s power network.

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