We have to be careful and remember that behavioral analysis alone cannot determine somebody’s guilt or innocence, says body language expert Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma. But after analyzing Kavanaugh’s testimony, she says it’s worth highlighting the revealing moments that say a lot about who he is.“His extreme emotions and inability to control his anger, rage, contempt, and tears is revealing,” Wood tells Refinery29. “I have analyzed dozens of congressional hearings and I have never seen someone questioned display this broad range of emotions or this intensity.” Wood says Kavanaugh used emotions that are known as “cover emotions” in deception detection; anger, “victim tears,” and laughter. These emotions can be sincere and he could be showing them because he is innocent, but they can also “cover guilt,” she says.“His tears seem real and they can certainly call forth empathy,” she continues. “They can show that he is absolutely innocent, but I have also seen in my work throughout the years that people who are ‘caught’ sometimes cry because they feel like victims of circumstances. I have additional problem with somebody crying during their congressional testimony. I have seen people eviscerated during congressional testimony. He was not questioned with the same intensity as many have been. He’s the first person I’ve ever seen cry.”
Brett Kavanaugh gets emotional and breaks down in tears as he mentions his father: “Why did I keep calendars? My dad started keeping detailed calendars of his life in 1978.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 27, 2018She notes that when questioned by senators, Kavanaugh tended to both evade questions and redefine their terms, something that doesn’t necessarily mean a person is guilty, but is a notable habit. She pointed out that it could have been a conscious choice to say, “I never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with Dr. Ford,” rather than using the name Christine Blasey, which she was known by back when they were teenagers, at the time of the alleged assault. “I have seen this technique used so often by liars,” she says. “He has a habit of rephrasing and redefining terms and of not answering direct questions.”An example of evasion is when he responded to Sen. Amy Klobuchar asking him whether he had ever blacked out after drinking too much with “belligerent and attacking nonverbal cues,” responding with a question rather than an answer: “Have you?” Wood says he used humor and the “everybody does it, we all like beer response” to the questions about drinking. “I was very briefly a substance abuse counselor and I had to question people every week on their drinking and their behavior,” she says. “I would have asked him more specific questions like, ‘How many beers did you typically drink at a party?‘ ‘What is the most you ever had to drink in one evening?’ … The drinking questions are critical to the assault allegations, and it was interesting that that line of questioning was interrupted.”Wood says that a key piece of Dr. Ford’s testimony was revelatory; when she said that Kavanaugh and Mark Judge’s laughter — “the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense” — is the strongest impression in her memory. “If Kavanaugh did it and he was laughing, he may not have seen it or felt it as anything but ‘horseplay,'” says Wood. “He may not have had it register in his memory as anything wrong or bad. And if he was drunk, he may not have remembered it at all. This is important because his anger is so strong and he seems so emphatic, and he could actually feel he never did anything like this.”Wood emphasized that we still don’t know the truth.
Attorney General William P. Barr pulled out of a Thursday hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, and he has left House lawmakers who are investigating the president fuming and calculating.
In the letter, the special counsel took Mr. Barr to task for the way that the attorney general had initially summarized his findings, leaving “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.” That appeared to undercut Mr. Barr’s claims at a House hearing on April 9 that he was not aware of any such discontent.
“What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters. “That’s a crime.”
The Justice Department and Republicans on Capitol Hill fired back; Kerri Kupec, a department spokeswoman, called Ms. Pelosi’s comments a “baseless attack” that was “reckless, irresponsible and false.”
Mr. Barr had offered his own defense on Wednesday, telling senators that his comments about not knowing the feelings of the special counsel’s office referred to the investigators — not Mr. Mueller himself.
The calls for Mr. Barr to be held in contempt of Congress stem not from Mr. Mueller’s letter or his refusal to appear in front of the committee on Thursday. Instead, they follow the Justice Department’s decision not to honor the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena for Mr. Mueller’s report without redactions and all the evidence his investigators collected.
Democrats are not alone in their unhappiness over how the nearly two-year special counsel investigation is coming to a close.
In a letter to Mr. Barr that was dated April 19 but released on Thursday, a top White House lawyer, Emmet T. Flood, complained that the special counsel had violated the regulations governing his appointment by failing to reach a prosecutorial decision on obstruction of justice. Mr. Flood described Mr. Mueller’s findings as a 182-page discussion of evidence that were “part ‘truth commission’ report and part law school exam paper.”
Echoing Mr. Trump’s complaints about the “deep state,” though couching them in legalese, Mr. Flood accused unnamed officials of “a campaign of illegal leaks” to damage the president. He said James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, who was not named in the letter, had talked to reporters about his encounters with Mr. Trump to engineer the appointment of a special counsel.
“That the head of our country’s top law enforcement agency has actually done so to the president of the United States should frighten every friend of individual liberty,” Mr. Flood wrote.
Mr. Flood cautioned the attorney general that despite choosing against exerting executive privilege over material contained in the report, the president maintained the right to conceal raw evidence collected by the special counsel and to block witnesses from appearing before Congress.
Officially, Mr. Barr refused to show for the Judiciary Committee hearing because Democrats had insisted that he sit for questioning from Democratic and Republican staff lawyers. In a statement on Wednesday, Ms. Kupec called Democrats’ demands “unprecedented and unnecessary.” She said Mr. Barr would be happy to testify if Democrats would drop that demand.
Mr. Cohen was not having it. “Chicken Barr should have shown up today and answered questions,” he told reporters. “An attorney general who’s picked for his legal acumen and his abilities would not be fearful of attorneys questioning him for 30 minutes.”
Seeking to dramatize the attorney general’s absence, Democrats set out an empty chair with a name card for Mr. Barr and insisted it was their prerogative to decide how to run their hearings.
“The so-called attorney general is abrasive, evasive and unpersuasive,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the No. 5 House Democrat and a member of the Judiciary Committee. “He is a disgrace to the office that he currently holds.”
Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the committee, lit into his Democratic colleagues for making “ludicrous” demands and accused Mr. Nadler of manufacturing a conflict instead of trying to get at the truth.
“The reason Bill Barr is not here today is because the Democrats decided they did not want him here today,” Mr. Collins said, his rapid-fire Georgia accent winding up in indignation.
When Republicans tried to prolong the brief session with parliamentary objections, Mr. Nadler gaveled out, cut the microphones and walked out of the hearing room.