Earlier today, during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jeff Sessions displayed excellent examples of microexpressions while being questioned by Kamala Harris. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of just a few seconds of this crucial exchange.
Beginning at 0:44, Senator Harris say, "Is that policy in writing somewhere?"
Attorney General Sessions responds, "Ah, I, I think so?"
Senator Harris: "So did you not consult it before you came before - this committee knowing we would ask you questions about it?"
Jeff Sessions displays suppressed mile No. 1 during 0:46 - just after Senator Harris says, "... somewhere?"
He showed us a second suppressed smile during 0:47 as the AG says, "Ah, I, I think so."
The third microexpression of this brief cluster (and in may ways the best of the three) occurs a second later, during 0:48, just before Senator Harris says, "... not ...". It's quite classic and although subtle - it's highly significant.
While none of these three (still) images are dramatic, they are much more noticeable when viewed in the dynamic context of video. Please watch this several times at regular speed and again at half speed.
A suppressed smile is a form of/overlaps with the phenomenon of "Duping Delight" (Ekman). It's often seen when a person is taking pleasure in fooling others - while simultaneously trying to suppress his outward expression of joy. While it's understandable if a person is reacting to an attempt a levity - smiling during any type of hearing is highly out of context behavior. And even more so, the act of suppressing a smile - is a strong indicator of deception.
The simultaneous paralanguage signals of stuttering, as well as the lack of a definitive "Yes" - rather than, "Ah, I, I think so" - are also congruous with deception.
Summary: Jeff Sessions was, with high probability, being deceptive to Kamala Harris, when he spoke of the above noted "longstanding DOJ policy" for his legal basis for refusing to answer questions about his communications with President Trump today during his testimony.
Group Appearances and One-on-One
Online Courses Available
Body Language Analysis No. 3965: Manspreading, Madrid, and a Business Faux Pas
Body Language Analysis No. 3963: Donald Trump regarding James Comey and Loyalty
Body Language Analysis No. 3961: Mike Rogers' Testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee
Body Language Analysis No. 3959: Vladimir Putin - Megyn Kelly Interview, Part II
Body Language Analysis No. 3957: Sergei Gorkov, Jared Kushner, and Secret Meetings
Body Language Analysis No. 3955: Jeff Sessions, Russia, and Sergey Kislyak
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3873: Brie Larson's Eyes, The Bachelor, and the Edge of Consciousness
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3829: Mary Tyler Moore - Flirtatious, Sexy, Alpha Female Smile
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3801: Marion Cotillard, Lip Syncing and Honest Anxiety