Jul 5, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors: Man went near Obama's home after Trump posted alleged address

The former President of the United States of America Barack Obama participates in conversation with Andreas Drakopoulos as part of the SNF Nostos Conference 2023. Photo by Menelaos Myrillas / SOOC / SOOC via AFP

Prosecutors say a man arrested near former President Obama's home last week with weapons in his van visited the D.C. neighborhood after former President Trump shared what he claimed was Obama's address on Truth Social.

Driving the news: Prosecutors allege Taylor Taranto, 37, then wrote on Telegram, "'We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta's and Obama's (sic)." He allegedly then began livestreaming from his van on his YouTube channel in the Kalorama neighborhood of D.C.

  • Taranto, of no fixed address, allegedly talked about finding an entrance to the Obamas' home using the sewer system, according to Wednesday's court filings.
  • Based on earlier threats and because Taranto had previously indicated the vehicle contained some type of explosive device, the FBI’s bomb squad technicians and MPD’s K9 officers were deployed, per the court filings.

Zoom in: Taranto had two firearms in his van, but 18 guns registered to him haven't been recovered yet, prosecutors say.

  • He also had "hundreds of rounds of nine-millimeter ammunition, a steering wheel lock, and a machete," in his van, according to prosecutors.
  • Law enforcement had been unable to find and arrest him earlier because of his lack of a fixed address.
  • Secret Service uniformed officers began monitoring Taranto as soon as he began walking around and filming in Kalorama. He fled as soon as they approached him before he was ultimately apprehended, prosecutors said.

Yes, but: Prosecutors say that two of Taranto's social media accounts have deleted information or been deleted entirely since his arrest.

  • "It is unknown at this time who is deleting these accounts, but there is a concern that if released, Taranto will continue to attempt to destroy evidence."

The big picture: Taranto had been on law enforcement's radar for making various threats leading up to his arrest last week, according to the documents.

  • Prosecutors allege he threatened to blow up the National Institute of Standards and Technology and warned Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) that he “can’t stop what’s coming.
  • Taranto also allegedly entered an elementary school near the Maryland home of Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin while making apparent threats to the congressman, per prosecutors.
  • Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Of note: Taranto also had an open warrant out on charges related to the Capitol riot, per NBC News.

Editor's note: The headline of this story has been corrected to note that Taranto drove through Obama’s neighborhood, not to his home.

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