If you got the impression Hillary Clinton did not enjoy her Tuesday press conference on her ongoing email controversy, one expert thinks you were right.
Christopher Hadnagy, a body language expert and author of “Unmasking the Social Engineer,” told Business Insider on Wednesday that Clinton’s nonverbal actions often indicated an uneasiness with the questions in front of her.
“I don’t know if we have enough to say she is lying or telling the truth, but enough to show a high level of discomfort,” said Hadnagy, who also helps run Social‐Engineer, Inc.
It’s not surprising that Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for president in 2016, might have been uncomfortable this week. Her still unannounced campaign has been battered by negative headlines since March 2, when it was revealed she exclusively used her personal email as secretary of state. This reportedly violated federal guidelines and may have left her communications vulnerable to hackers.
However, as she faced reporters on Tuesday, a defiant Clinton repeatedly insisted she did nothing wrong. At the 20-minute press conference, held at the United Nations building in New York City, Clinton said she turned over all relevant emails to the State Department archives and followed all the rules and regulations for preserving official communications.
But underneath that defiance, Hadnagy said, was a certain level of nervousness indicated by her fidgeting, laughter, hand movements, and more.
Here’s Hadnagy’s in-depth analysis of the conference:
Hadnagy noted that Clinton licked her lips and shrugged her shoulders when asked if it was a “mistake” for her to conduct her government work on a private email. He said this indicates “uncertainty.”
Hadnagy called attention to Clinton hiding her thumbs while addressing whether the controversy has affected the timeline of her 2016 campaign. He said this was a display of “low confidence.”
As Clinton faced an aggressive question from a reporter insisting she violated “crystal clear” State Department guidelines, she fidgeted with her notes. Hadnagy called this a “manipulator,” or an action “caused by nervousness, discomfort, habit, or a need to relax,” according to his book.
As the reporter’s questioning continued, Clinton folded her hands and hid her thumbs. Hadnagy said this indicated a low level of confidence. This was followed by what Hadnagy described as a “nervous laugh.”
Clinton shrugged after she said she directed her attorney to “err on the side of providing [the State Department] anything that could be connecting to work.” Hadnagy said the shrug made it seem “like she is not sure” about that claim.
In what Hadnagy described as a particularly notable reaction, he said Clinton showed “contempt on her left cheek” after a reporter shouted a question at her about why she waited two months before turning the emails over.
You can watch the full press conference below:
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