My reading indicates that Clinton's outright denial about having the said affair constituted perjury, which is why he was impeached by the House. But it's not illegal to engage in sexual intercourse, so what makes the perjury charge valid?

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    You may recall that he embedded his testimony in distractions such as unusual definitions of "sexual relations" and confusing conjectures about how the concept "sexual relations" is defined, by him, Lewinsky, or the ordinary person. Under his definition, his testimony was literally true, which is what matters for perjury.
    – user6726
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 19:44
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    wait a minute...if his testimony was literally true then why would that be perjury?
    – Thufir
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 21:11

1 Answer 1


Willfully telling an untruth or making a misrepresentation under oath is perjury; the reason you do so or the substance of it is irrelevant.

It is the act of perjury itself that is an offense and led to the impeachment.

  • Right. It's not a crime to have a red car, but it would be a crime to testify under oath that your car is blue. Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 23:55
  • @kbelder Unless you had a genuine belief that it was; if you were unknowingly blue-red colorblind say
    – Dale M
    Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 6:15

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