By Mike Lillis - 05/30/14 05:02 PM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that the Republicans' special probe into the deadly 2012 siege in Benghazi is not designed to undermine Hillary Clinton.
Many Democrats have accused GOP leaders of assembling their select committee on Benghazi for the underhanded purpose of attacking Clinton, the former secretary of State, who is widely considered the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race – if she chooses to run.
"I don't think it's about Hillary Clinton at all," Pelosi said in an interview with Bloomberg's Al Hunt.
"These House Republicans, they're not about presidential [concerns],” she continued. “If they cared about the presidential race, they would have passed an immigration bill."
Pelosi said the investigation is part of a GOP strategy to avoid talk about the economy – and the two parties' vastly different approaches towards addressing it – ahead of the much closer midterm elections.
"This is about trying to distract people and subterfuge," Pelosi said. "We should be talking about job creation."
Her comments came on the same day that excerpts leaked from Clinton's upcoming memoir, in which she mounts an adamant defense of her actions surrounding the Benghazi attacks. Clinton accuses Republicans of trying to score political points "on the backs of dead Americans," according to the Associated Press.
For well over a year, Republicans on standing House committees have been investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on a U.S. post in Benghazi, Libya, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had, for months, resisted calls from many in his conference to form a special panel for the same purpose. But earlier this month, he reversed course, and the House created the panel in a largely partisan vote.
The shift led to Democratic charges that the Republicans simply wanted to prolong the investigation in order to embarrass President Obama, in the near term, and Clinton ahead of the next presidential race.
The critics were not encouraged that the select committee is operating under an open-ended timeline, and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) has acknowledged that the probe could run into 2016.
Pelosi on Friday said the Republicans' strategy is more immediate.
"This is all about now," she told Hunt. "But the fact is, the American people want to know about how are we going to create jobs?"