Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Body Language Analysis No. 4375: Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Security Clearances - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

President Trump reportedly pressured John Kelly (then, his Chief of Staff) as well as Don McGahn (then, White House Counsel) to issue Top Secret security clearances to both his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, despite Kelly's and McGahn's recommendations against it. After the White House Personnel Security Office raised concerns - and both Kelly's and McGahn's refusals - Trump overruled them, granting clearances to his daughter and son-in-law. 

What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of a portion of an interview Ivanka Trump gave on 7 February 2019 in which the subject of possible special treatment of her and Jared's security clearances was raised.

ABBY HUNTSMAN (beginning at 1:00 in the above video): Th - there are a lot of people that question whether - you were given special treatment by the President overriding other -

IVANKA TRUMP: [over-talking] Absolutely not.

ABBY HUNTSMAN: [continuing] officials. Can you - speak to that?

IVANKA TRUMP: There were anonymous leaks about there being issues - buuuut - the President had no involvement - pertaining to my clearance or my husband's clearance - zero.

ABBY HUNTSMAN: [over-talking] What, what were the problems? Early on?


ABBY HUNTSMAN: So no special treatment?


At the end of Abby Huntsman's statement (and interrupting Huntsman, before she had asked a question), Ivanka Trump closes her eyelids for a prolonged duration before and as she begins to say, "Absolutely not".

Note that initially, as she speaks the first syllable of the word, "Absolutely" - she begins to shake her head side-to-side (no), moving first to her left - and then back to her mid-line. Then, for the remainder of the word "Absolutely" and, continuing through the word "not", she nods her head, vertically, in the affirmative.

During the last syllable of "Absolutely", if you look carefully, you'll also see another signal - an evanescent one - a microexpression of contempt displayed on the right side (her right) of Ivanka's mid-face. This is subtle - but momentously telling. We cannot say to whom her contempt was directed (Ms. Huntsman, John Kelly, Don McGahn, other White House staff, etc.), but there's no doubt, Ivanka felt contempt in this moment. Please look for this subtlety while watching the video at full speed, then at 1/2 speed, 1/4 speed - and then again at full speed. Repeat this cycle several times. Whenever you see a microexpression, viewing and reviewing it in this manner will enhance your ability to spot these crucial signals.

Ivanka Trump's nonverbal behavior tells us what she was truly thinking-feeling. Her body language betrays her - showing us she was agreeing with Ms. Huntsman's preface - that she and Jared Kushner were given special treatment by the President - thus overriding other senior White House staff's objections regarding their security clearances.

Moreover, the word, "not" is barely audible. Her, again, this paralanguage behavior tells us the truth. So, although she says, "Absolutely not" - unless you're listening carefully, you'll hear, "Absolutely". We could indeed stop the video right here - and this cluster of behavior alone would be a profoundly compelling indication of deception. But let's continue.

Just after Ms. Huntsman asks, "Can you - speak to that?", Ivanka Trump looks down to her right as she begins answering, "There were anon-". This is the quadrant toward which most people look when they're lying.

As she says the word, "leaks", Ivanka displays a feigned expression of fear - morphed with a suppressed smile. This captures a moment of schadenfreude - as the President's daughter expresses joy that some of those individuals doing the leaking were caught.

It's noteworthy here, that the word, "leaks" was spoken with an up-talking and crescendoing vocal characteristic. In this context, simultaneous with this body language - this vocal pattern betrays duplicity.

Then, immediately after she says "leaks", she performs a quick, jerking motion from her right-to-left, in a hair flip. This alpha-swagger dynamic further amplifies her schadenfreude in the catching a White House leaker.

During her next sentence, as she says, "the President" ("... but - the President had no involvement - pertaining to my clearance or my husband's clearance ..."), Ms. Trump again looks down to her right - the quadrant we most often look to during deception.

After Ms. Huntsman asks, "What, what were the problems? Early on?",  Ivanka Trump raises her voice quite dramatically, saying, "There WEREN'T any!".

Notice that her eyes open very widely. Simultaneously, Trump's medial (inner) eyebrows lower (although this is diminished due to the effects of Botox). These nonverbal signals are significant for Anger-Rage.

In addition, the President's daughter shrugs her shoulders at this same time signifying the thought-emotions of:

• I don't know
• I don't care
• What does it matter?
• What could I do?

Another curious display in this moment involves Ms. Trump's voice. She rarely loses her temper in public, but for an instant here, she did just that. And, as her voice elevates in volume - its pitch also increases. Note that her breathy vocal fry disappears during this moment of anger-rage - as she momentarily drops her facade.

After Abby Huntsman asks, "So no special treatment?", Ivanka Trump again shrugs her shoulders and answers, "No" - amidst a prolonged blink.

Listen very carefully to the way Trump answers, "No." Play it over several times. Notice that it's high pitched - and crescendoing. This vocal quality indicates lower confidence. A confident rebuttal would have been spoken with a lower tone - and would be much more likely to decrescendo or plateau.

In addition, and this is subtle, but halfway through the word, "No", her pitch changes - the "o" has two different tones. This vocal pattern also indicates lower confidence in her answer - and again, is consistent with deception.

Summary: Ivanka Trump's nonverbal, verbal, and paralanguage behavior exhibited during this portion of this interview - indicates she is being deceptive - and that President Trump did indeed order that both she and her husband, Jared Kushner, be given top-secret security clearance.

Here's the Rub: to note similar times when someone who you may indeed like and trust - exhibits similar nonverbal behavior (e.g., in everyday scenarios). Would you then be able to spot their deception? If we fall victim to our (very human) confirmation biases - most people NOT be able to spot the lie, the insincerity, and the manipulation - until it's too late. How skilled are you at spotting deception?

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4374: Nancy Pelosi's Clap-Back to Donald Trump during the 2019 SOTU

Body Language Analysis No. 4373: Matthew Whitaker's Press Conference regarding Robert Mueller's Investigation

Body Language Analysis No. 4371: "Mr. President ... have you ever worked for Russia? Yes or no?"

Body Language Analysis No. 4370: Donald Trump, Fist-Pumping, and Vladimir Putin at 2017 G20

Body Language Analysis No. 4369: Donald Trump's Border Wall Oval Office Address

Body Language Analysis No. 4367: Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer Argue in the Oval Office - The Border Wall and Government Shutdown

Body Language Analysis No. 4362: Mohammed bin Salman regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Body Language Analysis No. 4360: GE's CEO Larry Culp's CNBC Interview and Subsequent Stock Sell-off

Body Language Analysis No. 4339: Pre-Confession Interview of Murderer, Chris Watts