March 14, 2018

A Florida Department of Citrus employee has been arrested for improperly using the agency's computers to mine for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The computers are typically reserved for matters having to do with the promotion and regulation of the local citrus industry.

Matthew McDermott, 51, was serving as the department's IT manager when he allegedly decided to use the computers "to solve mathematical equations in an effort to mine the virtual currency and win a reward," explained the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Because that process uses so much energy, the Florida Department of Citrus saw utility bills jump more than 40 percent between October 2017 and January 2018, costing an estimated $825. Additionally, McDermott allegedly spent nearly $22,000 on a state credit card to buy 24 graphic processing units, which " are often used to mine for cryptocurrency," the Tampa Bay Times writes.

McDermott is not the first employee to try to mine bitcoin on the job. Russian scientists working at a top-secret nuclear warhead facility were arrested earlier this year for trying to use a supercomputer to get rich quick. Jeva Lange

9:05 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that President Trump is "supposed to lead by example" when it comes to wearing a mask and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, but has failed at both those things and keeping the death toll down.

The United States is close to reaching the grim milestone of 100,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths. During an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Biden said it is as important as ever to stay safe by social distancing and wearing a face covering, as the COVID-19 threat is "not over."

Biden then appeared to reference a recent report by Columbia University researchers, who found that if federal social distancing measures had been enacted nationwide just one week earlier in March, about 36,000 coronavirus deaths would have been prevented, with even more lives saved if they were released on March 1. The first imported case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was reported on Jan. 20, with community transmission following a few weeks later.

"One hundred thousand deaths and at least 35,000 to 50,000 were avoidable, but for a lack of attention and ego," Biden said. Catherine Garcia

8:38 p.m.

President Trump on Tuesday night accused Twitter of "interfering" in the 2020 presidential election after the company attached a fact check to two of his tweets that made false claims about mail-in ballots.

Trump declared that mail-in ballots are fraudulent, which led Twitter to include links in the tweets redirecting users to a page with facts on the issue. This was the first time Twitter has labeled Trump's tweets as being misleading, and he was quick to respond, claiming that the company is "completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

Twitter did not delete any of his tweets, despite calls to do so by people directly affected by his messages, nor did the company ban his account. In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said his tweets "contain potentially misleading information about the voting process and have been labeled to provide additional context." Trump dismissed Twitter's fact checking, saying the research was conducted by "Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post." Catherine Garcia

7:45 p.m.

Twitter on Tuesday labeled two of President Trump's tweets about mail-in ballots as being misleading, the first time the company has tagged false claims he has made on the platform.

The tweets, which incorrectly declared that mail-in ballots are fraudulent, now have labels that say, "Get the facts about mail-in ballots." The links redirect users to a fact-check page with articles about the matter. A Twitter spokesperson said Trump's tweets "contain potentially misleading information about the voting process and have been labeled to provide additional context."

Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign manager, said in a statement his team "always knew that Silicon Valley would pull out all the stops to obstruct and interfere with President Trump getting his message through to voters."

Trump has long faced criticism for spreading falsehoods on Twitter, and over the last few days has used the platform to insult several Democratic lawmakers and spread a conspiracy theory about Lisa Klausutis, a woman who died while working for Joe Scarborough when he was a member of Congress. On Tuesday, Klausutis' widower asked Twitter to delete Trump's tweets, saying he has "struggled to move forward with my life" because of the "barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo, and conspiracy theories" about his wife's death. Catherine Garcia

6:33 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday fired back at President Trump for sharing a tweet that mocked Biden for wearing a mask during a Memorial Day event, calling him an "absolute fool."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, but Trump has opted out of publicly wearing a face covering during visits to factories, despite the companies requiring masks for the safety of their employees. This is irresponsible, Biden told CNN's Dana Bash, and Trump's refusal to listen to health experts is "costing people's lives." Presidents, Biden added, "are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine." Catherine Garcia

6:08 p.m.

After coming under fire for wearing blackface in an old Saturday Night Live sketch, Jimmy Fallon has issued an apology.

The Tonight Show host this week became a trending Twitter topic when a clip resurfaced of him wearing blackface while playing Chris Rock on SNL in 2000. In a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, Fallon apologized, saying "there is no excuse" for wearing blackface and that he is "very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive" and "terrible" decision to do so.

Fallon had faced criticism over the old sketch prior to this week's controversy, with Nick Cannon previously blasting not just Fallon, but also Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman, who also wore blackface in old sketches. Silverman disclosed last year that she had recently been fired from a movie for wearing blackface on her show in 2007, at the time saying she's "not that person anymore." Brendan Morrow

5:56 p.m.

President Trump has spent the past few weeks suggesting, without any proof, that a staffer who died in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough's office when he was a Florida congressmember was actually murdered. Timothy Klausutis, the widower of Lisa Klausutis, said Trump "has taken ... the memory of my dead wife and perverted it for perceived political gain" in a letter, but that didn't seem to bother Trump in a Tuesday press conference.

Lisa Klausutis died in 2001 after fatally hitting her head on a desk after fainting due to an undiagnosed heart issue, the medical examiner ruled at the time. But on Tuesday, Trump still insisted that the matter was "suspicious," and claimed Klausutis' family "want(s) to get to the bottom of it."

That comes in direct contrast to the letter Timothy Klausutis sent to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday asking him to delete Trump's tweets. Klausutis said he has "struggled to move forward with my life" because of the "barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories" about his late wife's death that Trump is now spreading.

Also in the press conference, Trump announced some good news for people who access insulin through Medicare. A new Medicare benefit will cap monthly copays for certain types of insulin at $35, Trump announced — and then wondered out loud if he should start taking insulin himself. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:18 p.m.

Insider trading investigations into three senators have reportedly been closed by the Justice Department.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that investigations into Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), are being closed, although a probe of Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) remains open.

The senators came under scrutiny following reports that they sold stock holdings earlier this year after receiving briefings about the coronavirus, shortly before markets took a dive as the pandemic accelerated. Loeffler, Feinstein, and Inhofe said they weren't involved in making the stock trades, though the Journal notes Burr had a "more direct involvement in his trades."

Burr, who sold between $628,000 and $1.72 million in stock, has denied allegations of wrongdoing, claiming he "relied solely on public news reports." After the FBI seized his cell phone, Burr stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, calling the scandal a "distraction." Brendan Morrow

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