Thursday, May 2, 2019

Body Language Analysis No. 4384: William Barr's Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 1 May 2019 - Part I - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On Wednesday 1 May 2019, Attorney General William P. Barr testified under oath before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary regarding the Department of Justice’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election. Afterward, the Justice Department announced that the Attorney General would refuse to appear before the House Judiciary Committee - which was scheduled for this morning, 2 May 2019. Moreover, The Justice Department declared it will not be complying with the House's subpoena for the full Mueller Report.

What follows is a nonverbal analysis of a crucial portion of William Barr's Senate testimony.

KAMALA HARRIS (beginning at 0:00): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ah, Attorney General Barr, has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?

WILLIAM BARR: [lipsmack], Ahum, I wouldn't, I wouldn't, ahum -


WILLIAM BARR (quietly): Could you ah, could you repeat that question?

KAMALA HARRIS: I will repeat it. Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no please Sir?

WILLIAM BARR: Ahum [Lipsmack] The President or anybody else?

KAMALA HARRIS: Seems you'd remember something like that - 'nd be able to tell us.

WILLIAM BARR: Yeah, but I'm - I'm trying to [stammer] grapple with the word, 'suggest'. I mean a, a, a, a [stutter] there have been discussions of, of matters out there that ah, they have not asked me to open ah investigation, but -

KAMALA HARRIS: Perhaps they've suggested?

WILLIAM BARR: I don't know - I wouldn't say suggest, I -

KAMALA HARRIS (over-talking): Hinted?

WILLIAM BARR: I don't know


KAMALA HARRIS: You don't know?

WILLIAM BARR (very quietly): No.



Just after Senator Harris asks, "Yes or no?" (0:13), we See Attorney General Barr display a Loose Tongue Jut.

A loose tongue jut signals the thought-emotion of:

• I've been bad
• I've been caught
• I've done a stupid thing

Note that this loose tongue jut begins just to the left of the mid-line and sweeps to his left. This additional sweeping dynamic tells us that Barr doesn't believe what he is saying in this particular moment. It's as if he's trying to wipe his mouth clean - attempting to wipe the lie from his lips.

Just after Senator Harris asks, "Yes or no?", we see William Barr display an episode of rapid blinking (0:14 sec). While not indicative of lying directly, rapid blinking - as well as an overall increase in blinking frequency - are reliable signals of heightened anxiety.

Barr the asks Harris, "Could you ah, could you repeat that question?" - in a common stalling tactic. A lying mind needs more time.

Kamala Harris answers, "I will repeat it. Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no please Sir?"

Barr then says, "Ahum" and proceeds to show a truncated form of a Forward Lip Purse accompanied by a Feigned Consideration Pout (0:28). As is often the case, we also hear a Lip Smack immediately following this nonverbal cluster - just prior to Barr saying, "the President or anybody else?"

A forward lip purse is a profoundly valuable indicator of a clandestine plan and/or an undisclosed disagreement. In this example, it's not fully formed because it's interrupted by his lip smack. Those individuals who display a forward lip purse have the belief that they are THE highest alpha-dog in the room. Moreover, they also believe that they have a good chance of successfully implementing and executing their plan. Whenever you see a forward lip purse - protect your flanks!

A lip smack is a sign of high confidence - here it's an amplifying signal - showing us Barr's confidence in the belief of his ability to successfully execute his plan.

At 0:31, we see Barr show a partial expression of Fear.

Just as Senator Harris says, "Seems" ("Seems you'd remember something like that - 'nd be able to tell us", 0:32), we see Barr slip for a split second to a deeper level of fear - displayed in a subtle, yet highly significant microexpression.

Pay close attention to the corners of Barr's mouth. Watch this portion of the video at regular speed, at 1/2 speed, at 1/4 - and then again at regular speed. Repeat this cycle several times. Such practice will improve your ability to spot this and other microexpressions in real time (and, of course, when no video is available). 

As he says, "grapple with the word", Barr's torso shifts back and forth (side-to-side) in his chair as he straightens his back and momentarily grows taller (0:36 - 0:37). This is another anxiety display - reminiscent of what a student may do in the principal's office - sitting at attention - and trying to appear to be above reproach. 

His use of the word "grapple" (a synonym for wrestle and struggle), while to some may appear melodramatic - in this context, it's a profound statement analysis/paralanguage tell for his inability to escape Senator Harris' questioning. 

Note immediately afterward, Barr also stutters, "I mean a, a, a, a - ", in another indication of his anxiety.

During 0:40 - 0:41, as he says, "of, of matters out there", he gestures loosely toward the ceiling with his right arm and hand in a palm-down, fingers splayed illustrator. This is an attempt on Barr's part to dismiss any suggestion of Harris' - with an air of non-seriousness (e.g., 'We may have briefly mentioned it - but only in passing').

During 0:44, as the Attorney General says, (with extra emphasis) "asked me" ("that ah, they have not asked me to open ah investigation"), the split screen shows us the following three expressions:

Senator Harris is displaying a Lateral Lip Purse along with a tensed Partial Eyelid Closure (a 'Squint'). This nonverbal cluster is a classic indication of a rebuffing of another person's attempted deception. Barr is lying and Harris knows it. She's not buying what he's selling.

Senator Booker's expression is an amalgam of a Suppressed Smile ('We caught you lying') along with suppressed Anger (Note his lips are thinned and nearly horizontal, increased tension in his 'mustache area', along with flared nostrils).

Helaine Greenfeld, seated behind Senator Harris, is displaying a more full expression of Anger with a secondary component of Disgust.

During 0:46 - 0:47, just prior to and during Barr saying, "but" ("that ah, they have not asked me to open ah investigation, but -"), he nods his head up-and-down, in a classic affirmation illustrator. FULL STOP. This dynamic simply screams deception. When a person is nodding 'yes' - simultaneous with a verbal denial - they are lying.

Please watch this portion of the video - as the dynamics are impossible to capture on a still image.

During 0:51, as he says, "I don't know", Barr shrugs both of his shoulders, which in this context is signaling:

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

Barr once again displays a Feigned Consideration/Pout, just after Senator Harris asks, "Inferred?"

Note that at the very end of this exchange, when Senator Harris asks Barr, "You don't know?", his answer ("No") is so quiet as to be almost inaudible. Barr's near whisper is screaming with low confidence.

SUMMARY: Nonverbal, verbal, and statement analysis of the above-described portion of the video indicate that Attorney General William Barr lied to Senator Kamala Harris yesterday during his sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specifically, President Trump and/or other individuals at the White House have indeed asked and/or suggested to William Barr that the Justice Department open one or more investigation(s).

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4383: William Barr's 27 March 2019 Senate Testimony 

Body Language Analysis No. 4382: Why is Donald Trump Leaning Forward?

Body Language Analysis No. 4381: Trump 'jokes' about staying in office for "at least for 10 or 14 years"

Body Language Analysis No. 4380: Tiger Woods Wins his first Masters in 14 years

Body Language Analysis No. 4379: Katie Bouman, Black Holes, and Emotional Processing

Body Language Analysis No. 4378: William Barr questioned regarding The Mueller Report (on 9 April 2019 before the House)

Body Language Analysis No. 4376: Jacinda Ardern and Donald Trump - a Study in Contrasts

Body Language Analysis No. 4340: Ruby Rose gets Emotional regarding her new Role as Batwoman

Body Language Analysis No. 4299: Bill Clinton confronted regarding Monica Lewinsky Affair