FOX8’s Bob Buckley sits down with incumbent U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis

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Incumbent U.S. Senator Thom Tillis sat down with FOX8 recently to discuss a wide variety of topics as he looks to win re-election in 2020.

Tillis has not just a primary battle but several recent polls show him either in a virtual tie or narrowly behind two of his potential Democratic rivals in this race.

Since impeachment seems to be the topic that everyone is talking about in Washington, we asked Senator Tillis if he has made up his mind on whether impeachment is justified, particularly in light of the recent “whistleblower” concerning the president’s interactions with Ukraine and accusations that President Trump asked the Ukrainians to investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

“What I have seen in the transcript of the call and the whistleblower complaint and that alone leads me to believe that, at this point in time, my colleagues on the House side in the Democratic conference are more about keeping a story alive that started before the president was ever sworn in,” replied Tillis. “They were calling for impeachment after he was elected. They tried to use the special counsel investigation and, for months, they said that would rise to a level of impeachment. It didn't. Then they called Special Counsel Mueller before them and said that would rise to the level of impeachment. It didn't.”

One of Tillis’ main issues in this campaign is immigration. He has introduced a bill that would allow people to bring a lawsuit if they are injured by someone in the country illegally whom a local jurisdiction failed to turn over to ICE – a reaction to, “sanctuary cities or jurisdictions” that tell people in the country illegally that they won’t be referred to immigration officers.

“I do believe our sanctuary cities bill is a very important way to give local government, state governments, counties the option to have a sanctuary policy, but if they make a decision that ultimately results in someone being harmed, that's a victim, and I believe in victim's rights, and I think that those victims should hold those elected officials or sheriffs accountable, and there's no recourse now,” says Tillis. “So, now, a local government could release someone that ICE has said they represent a potential threat - they were arrested, that's why they're in jail because, not just because they were illegal immigrants, but because they've committed some crime since they came to this country, and I think that's a warning flag that the local officials should heed and cooperate with federal officials.”

Tillis took some criticism for not having all of the state’s sheriffs at his meeting – particularly sheriffs in communities that have declared themselves sanctuaries. But Tillis says that wasn’t done on purpose.

“I'm happy to meet with any of them,” he told us. “I've had conversations with some sheriffs who are responsible for sanctuary jurisdictions. What I wanted to hear (at the meeting with sheriffs) was what are the nature of the crimes and the threats that they represent through their sanctuary policies, and I heard that. People in North Carolina need to know - I asked a show of hands or just tell me, roughly, how many of the people have you actually arrested that were only illegal - their only crime was crossing the border: Zero, none. DUI, rape, assault, murder, yes but not just for being illegally present and that's what we need to understand. A lot of people think they're just rounding them up and they're going to fast-track them over to ICE and they're going to deport them. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about people who committed serious crimes who are in a county jail that we want to make sure ICE gets a chance to look into their background before they get released.”

See Tillis respond to questions on if he would treat President Obama with the same deference he’s treating President Trump; on President Trump’s tweets congratulating China on 70 years of Communism and the canceling of North Carolina military projects to fund the border wall in this interview with our senior political reporter Bob Buckley.

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