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In heated debate, Arizona secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem reveals he sat for Jan. 6, DOJ interview

PHOTO: Arizona Secretary of State Republican candidate Mark Finchem listens to instructions prior to debating Democratic challenger Adrian Fontes, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Phoenix.

PHOENIX — Arizona Republican secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem revealed during Thursday’s debate that he has been interviewed by both the Justice Department and Jan. 6 committee about his alleged involvement in the Capitol attack.

This was the first time Finchem has publicly confirmed speaking on the matter with federal officials.

“They asked me, why was I there? I said, ‘Well, I think you already know. I was there to deliver an evidence package to Representative Paul Gosar,'” Finchem, who was subpoenaed by the committee earlier this year, told reporters after the debate.

The four-term, far-right Arizona lawmaker, who continues to espouse the “Big Lie” and is running to be the state’s chief election officer, revealed the Jan. 6 interview and Justice Department involvement in a back-and-forth on the debate stage with his opponent, Democrat Adrian Fontes.

“I was interviewed by the DOJ and the J-6 commission as a witness,” Finchem said. “So for him to assert that I was part of a criminal uprising is absurd. And frankly, it is a lie.” Finchem told reporters after the debate that the meeting was “a couple of months ago.”

Arizona Secretary of State Republican candidate Mark Finchem listens to instructions prior to debating Democratic challenger Adrian Fontes, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Phoenix.

Matt York/AP

Fontes, the former Maricopa County elections recorder during the 2020 election, prompted the comment by bringing up Finchem’s efforts to decertify President Joe Biden’s win, Finchem’s presence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and affiliation with the Oath Keepers militia group.

“Good,” Fontes told reporters after the debate regarding the revelation that Finchem sat for investigators. “I hope they investigate, and if he did something wrong, I hope that they prosecute and convict him.”

ABC News has asked Finchem’s campaign whether he sat for more than one interview with federal investigators and whether he traveled to Washington for the sit-down.

Finchem, leaving the Arizona PBS studio immediately after the debate while reporters chased after him, said he was not asked by investigators about “Stop the Steal” coalition organizer Ali Alexander specifically, and when asked about Alexander’s characterization of him as a “close friend,” Finchem distanced himself, saying, “That’s probably an exaggeration.”

But on the debate stage, Fontes repeatedly tied Finchem to the insurrection.

“He’s part of an organization that has called for the violent overthrow of our government….

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