Donald Trump has said an investigation is under way into a how a plane load of armed “thugs” made their way to the Republican Party convention with the sole purpose of “doing big damage”.
But it’s not clear who is conducting the investigation as there is no evidence the event actually took place, and the government agencies that would be responsible for looking into it have no idea what he’s talking about.
Speaking to Fox News on Monday, Trump made cryptic claims about armed thugs he said had boarded an airplane seeking trouble.
The president, seeking re-election on a promise to restore “law and order”, said the plane was “completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that”.
The president did not specify a date for such an incident, detail what gear the individuals were carrying or say whether anyone was arrested or charged.
He added: “Here were, like, seven people on the plane like this person [a witness], and then a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage.”
Asked for more details, Trump said: “I’ll tell you sometime, but it’s under investigation right now.”
US security officials said they could not confirm such an incident and officials familiar with law enforcement investigations also expressed puzzlement at the claims, Reuters reports.
On Tuesday the White House doubled down by saying he was referring to an investigation into possible financial backers of “organised riots”.
Again, no further details were provided and law enforcement agencies have not charged any political groups or operatives with fomenting violent protests.
His assertion was similar to rumours posted on Facebook in June about men dressed in black disembarking on planes in Idaho. Local officials at the time said the rumours were untrue.
Law enforcement, intelligence and Congressional officials familiar with official reporting on weeks of protests and related arrests said on Tuesday they were aware of no incidents or reports that would confirm Trump’s anecdote.