Precedent means there is a recorded history of an event happening before.
There’s a school of thought that says a key reason the Republican congressional majority would assent to a Trump impeachment / resignation because the GOP would get the president they really wanted, current Vice President Mike Pence.
Although Pence was Governor of Indiana when he and Trump ran in 2016, he never had any known aspirations of becoming President.
Pence also is too far a right conservative to win a national election, let alone be re-elected in 2020 should Trump exit the White House prematurely.
So who will be the next US President?
The closest historical precedent to a double resignation of both the President and Vice President is the resignation of Nixon and his original Vice-President, Spiro Agnew, who resigned in 1973, a year before Nixon went down.
A little House of Representative history lesson: Less than a year before Richard M. Nixon’s resignation as President of the United States (August 8, 1974), Spiro Agnew became the first U.S. Vice President to resign in disgrace.
Agnew was immediately replaced by Gerald Ford, who was then the minority whip in the House of Representatives. And when Nixon resigned in June 1974, in stepped Ford not Agnew as the next President.
This is perhaps the precedent many in the GOP are searching for to leap over a Pence and select Speaker Paul Ryan as the 46th President.
Also, Ryan is much more electable in 2020, and certainly more popular in GOP fundraising circles which will immediately help repair the party’s image for the 2018 mid-term elections, where Republicans will now be challenged to keep their majority in Congress after just 4 months of a Trump Administration.
Many are suggestion that after Trump resigns or is impeached, Ryan and not Pence will be vaulted into the Oval Office for the greater good of both country and party. And Pence will simply resign and return home to Indiana.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) might then become Speaker Ryan’s new Vice President, as head two politicians are very close personally.
Ironically, both men are living in their 46th year of life as both men are 45 years of age and come from very similar grass roots, with independently made backgrounds.
If and when impeachment proceedings begin in House of Representatives, they will select the next President, and the Senate the next Vice President per the US Constitution.
Only if a President is declared disabled or physically unfit to lead is the Vice President automatically elevated into the presidency per the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution.
This was the case for LBJ after President Kennedy was assassinated.
Also under the US Constitution, impeachment proceedings begin in the House of Representatives only if a majority approves articles of impeachment previously approved in committee.
This is why fired FBI Director James Comey’s public testimony next Wednesday at 9:30am is so important. He’ll be explaining his memos to the American people before the House Judiciary Oversight Committee–who will most likely recommend to Ryan impeachment proceedings.
Then if impeachment gets the necessary votes in House, it goes to the Senate, where a two-thirds majority vote is required to convict the president, upon which Trump would be removed from office.
But no president has ever been impeached technically–even Nixon–they all resign well before the Senate can convict them and most even before the House can vote (the exception is Bill Clinton, who lost in the Republican majority House and won in the Democratic majority Senate).
So in many ways, our next President is already preparing to take the job. Be it Pence or Ryan.
Perhaps this is why both politicians are laying low in the weeds while Trump is slaughtered in the press on an hourly basis.