Hillary Clinton on Tuesday night deflected questions about her controversial use of a private email system to shield her communications, by saying the Republican effort to investigate her communications isn't an investigation, but an act of raw politics.

"Let's just take a minute here and point out that this committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee," Clinton said of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, the bipartisan probe that discovered her private email account in March.

"It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican Majority Leader, Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers," she added, referring to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. McCarthy mistakenly implied in an interview last month that one of the committee's greatest accomplishments to date was dragging down Clinton's poll numbers.

Clinton, who has apologized for her personal email use in the past, stopped short of the conciliatory tone she struck soon after the FBI opened an investigation into her server. "I've taken responsibility for it. I did say it was a mistake," she said Tuesday during the debate. "It wasn't the best choice."

Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com