This week Sharyl Attkisson interviewed President Trump on her show, Full Measure. The twenty-one-second segment featured above is profoundly telling. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis – as well as an evaluation of the President’s paralanguage.
SHARYL ATTKISSON: Do you think you would ever consider trying to have Mueller removed, or do you pledge to just stay out of that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well I hope he’s treating everything fairly – and if he is, I’m going t’ be very happy because – when you talk about innocent – I am truly – not – involved at any form of collusion with Russia, believe me. That’s the last thing I can think of – to be involved in.
During 0:14, when the President says, “… not – involved …”, his mouth momentarily takes on a configuration of fear. Due to its extreme brevity, this “Mouth of Fear” expression (immediately above) is also an example of a Microexpression.
As he says, “… believe me …” (0:17), The President’s mouth becomes dramatically asymmetrical, biased toward’s his right side. Sudden asymmetrical (mouth) speaking is highly correlative with deception and false-bravado and is a colossal red flag.
Now go back to 0:11 – here is an example of a somewhat poorer resolution image because the camera angle used was at a greater distance at the precise moment of the President’s maximum nonverbal display – however, watch it on full-screen mode – for it’s another classic but rarely captured nonverbal moment.
When the President says the word, “… innocent …”, his mouth not only takes on another highly one-sided display – but he also projects a “Lip Curl“. A Lip curl is a signal of sarcastic false bravado/hubris.
Taken on their own, Trump’s body language behaviors are highly indicative of fear and deception – yet if we also evaluate his many paralanguage behaviors, this short video screams even louder.
Here are some Statement Analysis highlights:
1. President Trump didn’t answer either of the two questions Sharyl Attkisson had asked.
2. The President’s use of “I am truly – not – involved” suggests quite strongly that Trump acknowledges collusion is taking place – but the President’s just claiming HE’S not involved in it. This is considerably different from saying, for example, “No collusion with Russian has ever occurred with me or my staff.”
3. Use of the words, “I am not“: Opting to not use a contraction when proclaiming one’s innocence or refuting one’s guilt is correlated with deception. In the context of this sentence, an innocent person would instead have a strong tendency to use the contraction, “I’m not“.
4. Donald Trump’s use of the words “… involved at …” instead of, “… involved in …” or “… involved with …” is an indication of his anxiety and suggests these other scenarios occurred.
5. Why is the President not proclaiming his innocence (a positive statement) rather than the denying perpetrating a crime (a variety of a double negative)? Innocent people will tend to tell you they’re innocent, whereas guilty people will tend to tell you they’re not guilty. This axiom stands out even more glaringly when Ms. Attkisson was asking an entirely different question.
6. The sentence, “That’s the last thing I can think of – to be involved in.“, is a sarcastic hyperbolic expression, but it suggests there are other things the President would like “to be involved in“.
7. The use of the phrase, “Believe me” is highly correlative with the over-compensatory behavior of deception (and not coincidentally correlated with the above-noted mouth asymmetry).
8. The President commits a monumental Freudian slip when he calls himself “not” innocent in the answering of his own question:
Trump’s question: “… when you talk about innocent (his proposed, [and never-asked] question)
Trump answering his own question: “… I am truly – not – involved at any form of collusion with Russia…”
Furthermore, President Trump paused before and after saying the word “not” – because he realized, at some level, that he let the truth out. This is classically and clearly further evidenced nonverbally by his display of a “Mouth of Fear” as he says the word, “not” (see above).
An innocent person, if they posed such a question would tend to say, “When you talk about innocent – I am truly innocent” (and, moreover, without inserting/stutter with any pauses).
Summary: President Trump’s nonverbal and paralanguage behavior both indicate he’s lying when he says, “… when you talk about innocent – I am truly – not – involved at any form of collusion with Russia, believe me. That’s the last thing I can think of – to be involved in.”
The President is trying much too hard to convince us of his innocence. Such over-compensatory behavior as a signal of guilt which has been recognized throughout human history, and is wonderfully captured in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “The Lady doth protests too much, methinks” (and, not coincidentally, another play within a play).
Body Language Analysis No. 4109: John Kelly, Robert E. Lee, and the US Civil War
Body Language Analysis No. 4107: Paul Manafort, Robert Mueller, Russian Oligarchs, and Donald Trump
Body Language Analysis No. 4105: An interview with Sophia the Robot at the Future Investment Institute
Body Language Analysis No. 4082: Brother of Stephen Paddock (Las Vegas Shooter)
Body Language Analysis No. 4076: Roger Stone Speaks to the Press after House Intelligence Committee Testimony
Body Language Analysis No. 4030: Charlottesville, Empathy, and One Expression Donald Trump Should Have Displayed
Body Language Analysis No. 4002: Justin Trudeau Meets His Namesake
Body Language Analysis No. 3956: Keri Russell’s Tongue