During his recent (12 May 2017) interview on Fox, Donald Trump was asked by Jeanine Pirro about his allegedly asking James Comey, for Comey's loyalty. This interview took place three days after the President fired the FBI Director.
What follows is a transcript of this portion of the interview, followed by a partial nonverbal and paralanguage analysis.
JEANINE PIRRO: People suggest that the question that - apparently The York Times is selling, that you asked Comey, whether or not you had his loyalty was - possibly inappropriate. W-, could you see how people could think that?
DONALD TRUMP (over-talking): No, I don't think, I read, I read that article. I don't think it's approp, inappropriate. The mor- [inaudible]
JEANINE PIRRO (over-talking): Did you ask that question?
DONALD TRUMP: No. No, I didn't. But I don't think it would be a bad question to ask. I think - loyalty to the country, loyalty to the United States is important. You know, I mean it depends on how you define a-, loyalty. Number one. Number two, I don't know how that got there - because - I didn't ask that question.
JEANINE PIRRO: What about the idea that - in a tweet, you said that there might be tape recordings, well -
DONALD TRUMP (over-talking): Well - that I can't talk about. I won't talk about that. All I want is for Comey to be honest, and I hope he will be, and I'm sure he will be, I hope.
During 0:31, as he says, "... because - I didn't ask that question ...", President Trump's face takes on an expression of forced (acted) incredulity. Thin-slicing this moment further:
- Donald Trump's central forehead contracts and elevates (although significantly blunted secondary to the effects of Botox)
- His mouth configures in a hyperbolic, feigned smile (pulled more laterally rather than vertically, it's also asymmetrical - biased to his right side)
- Simultaneously he glances, very briefly, up to HIS Left
Evaluating his gaze behavior: When right-hand dominant individuals (as is Trump) look up to their left, a very large percentage of the time (>95% in those who have been evaluated ["normed" or normalized] for their baseline behavior), they are visually recalling an event from the past which they witnessed. This indicates, with high probability, that President Trump did indeed ask James Comey for his personal loyalty.
Note also, later in this segment, when Ms. Pirro asked the President about tape recordings, Trump looked to up and to HIS Right (0:39). When a right-hand dominant person looks up to his right, he is visually constructing an event in his mind. Why isn't Trump looking up to his left then? (Why is he not simply visually recalling the event?). He has to visually construct the event for one of two reasons:
- It did not occur - ergo he's lying
- It did occur, BUT he was not there to see it
President Trump also displayed multiple paralanguage behaviors which are noteworthy. Here are two particularly glaring examples:
- During 0:14, the President stutters saying, "I don't think it's approp, inappropriate."
- When Ms. Pirro asks him a question regarding him allegedly asking for James Comey's loyalty, Donald Trump responds with statements about loyalty to the country.
Based on President Trump's nonverbal and paralanguage behavior during this interview segment, we can say with a high degree of confidence:
- Donald Trump did indeed ask James Comey for his personal loyalty
- The President did not record this conversation with then Director Comey. He is bluffing.
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