Hill editor-in-chief: Buttigieg could benefit if impeachment reaches Senate

The Hill's Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack said Friday that former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign could stand to benefit if the impeachment battle reaches the Republican-run Senate. 

Cusack noted that if House Democrats vote to impeach President Donald Trump, which is likely, all of the senators in the Democratic primary would have to leave the campaign trail and return to Capitol Hill to take part in the Senate's impeachment trial. 

"When the impeachment moves over into the Senate, who's really going to benefit from that because I talked to a couple of members in the Senate who say they have to be there six days a week, so that's Bernie, that's Warren, that's Klobuchar, that's Booker, that's Harris," he told Hill.TV. "They have to be there."

Cusack added that Buttigieg, who has seen a bump in key early voting states, could "move up even more" due to their absence. 

A Monmouth University poll this week found Buttigieg with 22 percent support among likely Iowa caucusgoers, which marked a 14-point bump since August.

Former Vice President Joe Biden placed second with 19 percent support, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with 18 percent and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with 13 percent.

Buttigieg also saw a boast in New Hampshire. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday, Buttigieg surged into third place among New Hampshire voters behind Biden in first place at 20 percent and Warren in second at 16 percent.

Though Buttigieg started as a relative unknown, Cusack argued that the former South Bend, Ind., mayor has since become a formidable presidential contender.

"Some people go after his youth and inexperience - he's just a mayor but he knows the issues inside and out and I think he's one of the best candidates overall," Cusack told Hill.TV.

Cusack's comments come after House Democrats concluded their first round of public hearings as part of their investigation into whether Trump used military aid to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into his political opponents. 

William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, meanwhile, appeared before House lawmakers on Friday. 

House Democrats are slated to resume their public hearings on Tuesday, with a slew of diplomats and national security officials scheduled to appear over the course of next week. 

-Tess Bonn