WASHINGTON - Former President Donald Trump posted on his social media platform what he claimed was the home address of former President Barack Obama on the same day that a man with guns in his van was arrested near the property, federal prosecutors said Wednesday in revealing new details about the case.
Taylor Taranto, 37, who prosecutors say participated in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, kept two firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition inside a van he had driven cross-country and had been living in, according to a Justice Department motion that seeks to keep him behind bars.
On the day of his June 29 arrest, prosecutors said, Taranto reposted a Truth Social post from Trump containing what Trump claimed was Obama’s home address. In a post on Telegram, Taranto wrote: "We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta’s and Obama’s." That’s a reference to John Podesta, the former chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Democratic presidential campaign.
Taranto also told followers on his YouTube live stream that he was looking to get a "good angle on a shot," prosecutors said.
A federal defender representing Taranto did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. But in a motion seeking to have him released pending trial, the lawyer wrote that Taranto was not a flight risk, had a family in Washington state and had served in Iraq before being honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy.
"Mr. Taranto has been available and in plain sight for the last two and a half years," wrote the lawyer, Kathryn D’Adamo Guevara.
According to the Justice Department’s detention memo, Taranto’s wife told investigators that he had come to Washington this time because of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s offer earlier this year to produce unseen video of the Jan. 6 attack. Taranto already faces four misdemeanor counts related to the Capitol assault, when prosecutors say he joined the crush of rioters who broke into the building and made his way to the entrance of the Speaker’s Lobby outside the House chamber.
Since then, prosecutors say, Taranto has been active online, posting a Facebook video of himself in the Capitol that day and endorsing a conspiracy theory that the death of Ashli Babbitt — who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer as she began to climb through the broken part of a door leading into the Speaker’s Lobby — was a hoax.
The FBI had been monitoring Taranto’s online activities because of his involvement in the riot, and began searching for him last Wednesday after he asserted on his YouTube livestream that he was in Gaithersburg, Maryland on a "one-way mission" and intended to blow up the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The following day, he continued his livestream from the Washington neighborhood where Obama lives — an area heavily monitored by the U.S. Secret Service — and said that he was looking for "entrance points" and wanted to get a "good angle on a shot," according to the detention memo.
Officials said he was spotted by law enforcement a few blocks from the former president’s home and fled, though he was chased by Secret Service officers.