Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Body Language and Behavior Analysis No. 4741: Todd Blanche's reaction to Donald Trump falsely claiming that he can't testify because of his gag order – Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


On Day 11 of Trump's Election interference trial, Judge Merchan told Donald Trump, "The [gag] order restricting extrajudicial statements does not prevent you from testifying in any way."

Judge Merchan's statement was in response to what happened the previous day (Day 10) after court, Donald Trump falsely claimed that he can't testify because of his gag order.

Todd Blanche then agreed with him – both verbally and to the casual observer nonverbally too... But upon closer inspection of Blanche's body language, there's much more revealed ...
Note Trump said, "Well, I'm not allowed to testify. I'm under a gag order [turns to Todd Blanche]. I guess, right? I can't even testify at all." Blanche then answers, "Yeah" [followed by a pause and a few more inaudible words].

At the 0:03 second mark in the above video (as Trump begins answering), Blanche looks at Trump displaying a false/insincere ("say cheese") smile:

As the ridiculousness of Trump's answer sets in, at 0:04 second mark, Blanche tilts his head to his right as he elevates the entire width of his forehead along with an evanescent elevation of both eyebrows (an eyebrow flash) & closes his eyelids w/ a suppressed smile:
He displays contempt as he looks down and to his right (guilt [both culpability guilt and shame guilt] and possible deception), (0:06):
This grouping of body language behaviors is an excellent example of what is termed a "cluster" – a nonverbal sentence. 

Blanche's body language cluster is quite literally saying, "Oh yeah? Ya think so? Well we'll see how *that* will work out for ya. You're completely wrong. You have no idea what you're talking about."

 Note also that Todd Blanche is subtly shaking his head side-to-side ("No") during 0:04 – 0:06. 

Then, when Trump turns toward Blanche, asking, "I guess?" to Blanche, his attorney exhibits another body language cluster, ...
... First turning his head toward Trump (while closing his eyelids)
... then shaking his head up-and-down (agreeing with Trump),
... then side-to-side (in disagreement again)
... then up-and-down (once again, agreeing with Trump) 
Blanche also displays a classic feigned contemplative pout after he says, "Yeah" (yet while he's shaking his head, "yes, no, yes"). He says something else after this multi-directional head shake, that is not audible to the microphone. 
This nonverbal contradiction (1st shaking head in disagreement, then shaking head in agreement, then again in disagreement, and again in agreement), (with his false contemplative pout) is an excellent example of a body language cognitive-emotional dissonance cluster.
Todd Blanche knows he must "perform" for his client, yet by agreeing with Trump's lie on camera, it would seem Blanche also lied.
Note also, Blanche closes both eyelids for an extended duration, first during 0:03...
...Blanche then closes his eyes for a lengthier time during 0:04 ... 
...and Blanche closes his eyes for an even longer duration 0:06 - 0:07 (as he lies, nods his head, [yes, no, then yes again] and says, "Yeah"):
Extended eyelid closures in this context have a high correlation with deception and regret.

Todd Blanche also closes his eyelids in long-duration yet again during 0:09 as he looks down again, tilting his head/neck again in culpability-guilt and shame-guilt. 
His mouth displays a simultaneous jaw jut (adrenaline surge), an expression of regret, and attempt at suppression (inward lip roll). 

Blanche also displays a hard swallow (anxiety) just after Trump says, "We're going to be appealing the gag order".
When he looks back up, Blanche's eyes are opened wider than baseline with a diminished blink rate (further sign of his increased adrenaline). 
SUMMARY: It's difficult to interpret it any other way – Todd Blanche, one of Donald Trump's attorneys, appeared to lie to him (and to the public) on camera. Blanche knew he was lying when he said, "Yeah" – displaying significant cognitive-emotional dissonance.
No truthful or competent attorney would answer, "Yeah" in the context of Trump's question, "Well, I'm not allowed to testify. I'm under a gag order [turns to Todd Blanche]. I guess, right? I can't even testify."

Blanche may claim that whatever he mumbled to Trump after saying "Yeah" put his agreement in proper context for Trump (i.e., "Yeah you have a gag order, but that doesn't apply to any possible testimony"), but Blanche's body language screams that he knew he told a lie.

Along with highly significant cognitive-emotional dissonance, Blanche was performing for his client, on camera, outside the courtroom.

Blanche's agreement here, on camera, is fuel for Trump's campaign and his disinformation.

Blanche also displayed body language indicative of significant contempt, impatience, and patronizing feelings toward Donald Trump (more cognitive-emotional dissonance).

Moreover, Blanche displayed adrenaline surges, culpability-guilt, shame-guilt, anxiety, and regret.
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