Republicans are starting to discuss the possibility of Mike Pence replacing Donald Trump as president, it has been reported.
Scandals such as the firing of FBI Director James Comey and alleged leaks of classified information to Russian officials have raised the possibility of Vice President Pence taking over at the White House.
Although this still remains unlikely, Republicans are apparently becoming alarmed by Mr Trump’s actions in office and are lining up Mr Pence as a possible replacement.
“If what [is] reported is true, Pence is probably rehearsing,” a House Republican, who asked not to be named, told Politico.
“It’s just like Nixon. From the standpoint that it’s never the underlying issue, it is always the cover-up.”
Mr Pence’s top members of staff have spent years working in American politics and are familiar with legislative process. The Vice President himself has extensive experience in public service and is viewed as a source of stability by Republicans.
“I find it unlikely that Trump is going anywhere,” a Republican lobbyist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
“That being said, Pence is well-liked on the Hill, fairly predictable, and doesn’t stir up much unnecessary drama.”
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
The news comes as a report suggested that Mr Trump’s campaign made contact with Russia at least 18 times during the presidential race.
Conversations between members of Mr Trump’s team and high-ranking Russian officials apparently included a special backchannel for communications between the President and Vladimir Putin being set up, Reuters reported.
In January, the White House denied any contact with Russian officials during the campaign but later confirmed four meetings during that period.