In an odd news segment aired Wednesday, CNN correspondent Brian Todd described the complicated situation that would arise should the president, vice president, speaker of the House, and president pro tempore of the Senate become incapacitated during Friday's inauguration, asking who would be the "designated survivor" to take over the presidency.
Todd explained that after the first four aforementioned options are exhausted, the presidency would go to the secretary of state, but should he be incapacitated as well, then it would fall on the other Cabinet positions.
However, by noon on Friday, there will be no Trump administration Cabinet positions sworn in, which, as Breitbart reported Thursday, allowed CNN to note that the Obama administration could possibly remain in power.
"On the day of the inauguration, as a precaution, a Cabinet secretary called the designated presidential successor will not attend the inauguration, ready to step in if something happens," Todd said. "But, it won't be a Trump Cabinet secretary, since none of them have been confirmed yet. It will be an Obama appointee."
He said there was "no word from the White House on who that will be."
Todd then asked an expert if the line of succession switches to the new presidency at noon.
The former director of the Continuity of Government Commission, John Fortier, explained that there are two lines of succession, one that is already in place and one that will not be in place until the inauguration is over.
" … And one which really won't be in place until Donald Trump is inaugurated, comes into office, and actually formally nominates and the Senate confirms his people," Fortier said. "You might actually end up with a president from the prior administration because of a tragedy."
Since Secretary of State John Kerry will be officially out of office on Friday by noon, and Rex Tillerson, Trump's nominee to head the State Department, will not be confirmed by then, the person to take over the position could be Obama appointee Tom Shannon, the undersecretary for political affairs.
He is the highest ranking non-political official.
Todd said Former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman was the designated survivor during one of Bill Clinton's State of the Union addresses.
"In 1997, during an address by President Clinton to Congress, he [Glickman] was the designated survivor," Todd said." He left Washington and went to his daughter's apartment in Manhattan but he wasn't alone. The role is a serious one and he says he was accompanied by a doctor, a military officer with access to the nuclear codes, and the Secret Service."