Nonverbal Communication Analysis №3879: Donald Trump, Wiretapping, Adam Schiff & Russia — Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Yesterday the leaders of a crucial US House of Representative committee conducted a press briefing in which they said they had seen no evidence of President Trump’s allegation that he or his staff had been wiretapped by President Obama during Trump’s campaign.
The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes (R-CA), said, “We don’t have any evidence that that took place.” The top-ranking democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff, agreed (D-CA), saying, “I have seen no evidence that supports the claim that President Trump made.”
The video above contains a portion of this press briefing. In this clip, only Representative Schiff is speaking.
From a body language perspective, one thing, in particular, jumps out regarding Rep. Schiff — his eyes. More specifically, both of his upper eyelids are, throughout most of this segment, opened much wider than baseline.
This “White and Wide” configuration of Adam Schiff’s eyes (eyelids) is due to a hyper-adrenaline state. It’s a very common physiologic response to anxiety. Even a person who’s accustomed to being on national TV will be a more nervous when it involves an investigation with such high ramifications.
Although it’s not captured in this portion of this press conference, it’s crucial to note that Rep. Schiff and Rep. Nunes did not agree on whether or not there was yet, any evidence that Trump’s campaign staff had any improper contact with the Russians during the campaign.
When a question regarding evidence of any possible link was posed, Mr. Nunes said, “Not that I’m aware of”, while Rep. Schiff interjected saying, “You know, I, I’m, I wouldn’t answer that question, ah, as categorically as my colleague and — ah, you know we’re not privileged to talk about the contents of the investigation, but I, you know, I-I think we need to be very precise, ah, when we talk about this, ah-um — and I, I just don’t think answer that, answer categorically, ah, and not in this forum.” Thus it is possible that the details regarding this specific disagreement was the reason for Adam Schiff’s heightened adrenaline.
The eyes are always of the utmost importance in the endeavor to accurately interpret (or project) nonverbal signals. What some people would call “subtleties” are often glossed-over or go completely unnoticed. And, in this example, Representative Schiff’s eyelid changes are far from subtle.
This post and the associated website serve as reference sources for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts — not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.