NEW YORK — Chuck Rosenberg makes no secret of his admiration for Robert Mueller.
Mueller, the ex-FBI director, not often speaks publicly and has been nearly silent about his particular counsel expertise since testifying earlier than Congress in July 2019.
In two separate podcast episodes, every practically an hour, Mueller does not speak about his work as particular counsel. He is not even requested.
“There are some questions that you just do not should ask,” mentioned Rosenberg, who labored for Mueller as an FBI counsel. “I knew he would not speak about it and I had actually no intention of asking about it.”
He took Mueller at his phrase that he would not speak about his work as counsel after his testimony. Mueller made an exception in September, pushing again after one in every of his former prosecutors urged in a guide that the counsel’s workforce wasn’t aggressive sufficient.
Rosenberg’s stance is in step with the format of “The Oath,” during which current and former authorities officers who’ve taken an oath to guard the Structure are interviewed about their lives and careers, whereas steering away from present occasions and political controversies.
Even in an period of suspicion concerning the “deep state,” or maybe due to it, there has clearly been a public style for “The Oath.” The Mueller interview leads its fourth season.
The present has been within the Prime 200 of the Apple Podcasts charts for greater than a 12 months, mentioned Andy Bowers, co-founder of the podcast internet hosting firm Megaphone.
Rosenberg’s in depth expertise helps with entry, so his visitor listing is persistently fascinating, mentioned Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the Lawfare weblog. He is additionally unapologetically earnest, as are lots of his visitors, at a time of cynicism.
“That is the successful method on ‘The Oath,’ a critical individual speaking to critical folks about public service at a time when folks actually need to keep in mind what public service is meant to be,” Wittes mentioned.
The voluble Comey is a distinction to Mueller, who’s fairly comfy with brief solutions. “I did OK,” Mueller mentioned when Rosenberg was attempting to attract him out about commendations he acquired throughout coaching with the Marines.
Did you want legislation college? “Not significantly,” Mueller mentioned.
“Jim is a pure storyteller, so in some methods it’s simpler (to interview him),” Rosenberg mentioned. “Bob additionally has quite a lot of tales to inform, you simply should let him inform them in his personal approach. I discovered that compelling — two very completely different kinds, as our listeners will discover, however I believe two males of substance.”
Though there was speak after his congressional testimony that Mueller, now 76, had misplaced some sharpness with age, Rosenberg mentioned “he appeared positive to me.”
When coaxed, Mueller is most fascinating within the first podcast speaking about his expertise in Vietnam. He volunteered for the Marines after a teammate on his Princeton lacrosse workforce was killed there, and commanded a unit that was — he discovered later — primarily used as bait to attract out the North Vietnamese military.
The expertise impressed a lifetime of public service, primarily as a result of Mueller was grateful to have survived.
It is the kind of service that is arduous for the cynical to fathom. In one other episode this season, Rosenberg speaks to Heather “Fortunate” Penney, a former fighter pilot given the task on Sept. 11, 2001 of stopping United Airways Flight 93 because it was certain for the U.S. Capitol. Since there was no time to arm the jet, her solely alternative was to ram the airliner; she was successfully despatched on a suicide mission. As an alternative, the airplane crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the hijackers.
Within the Mueller interview, Rosenberg mentioned he relished the chance to get to know somebody he knew solely as a boss.
“There is a little bit of a Marine Corps officer outer shell,” he mentioned. “He is usually a little bit intimidating. However beneath all of that, he’s a remarkably variety and humble and civil man. Developing within the ranks of the Division of Justice, Bob Mueller is an icon. Everyone that I labored with knew of him and admired him, however usually from a distance.”