Jonah, on your question, I think that’s entirely plausible – and consistent with Rove’s assertion that he has been cooperative with the investigation and continues to be. When someone is on the bubble, the thing that generally gets weighed most heavily is cooperation. If there are charges against anyone, Pat will expect continuing cooperation (possibly even trial testimony) from Rove, and he may well want to judge the quality of that cooperation before finally exercising prosecutorial discretion in Rove’s case.
On your first point, if the average person really thought that Pat had two years with no distractions here, it would be a very uninformed point of view. Pat has never given up his day job throughout this appointment. That job is being the U.S. attorney in Chicago – responsible for the enforcement of federal law in a 150-lawyer office in the 3d or 4th largest district in the country. Indictments in that office, since he took over in 2001, are up by something like 100 percent, and they have done impressive work in terrorism financing, organized crime, securities fraud and political corruption. Further, unlike most U.S. attorneys, who leave the work to the staff and just steer the ship, he has always handled some of the big cases himself.
He is thus actually far busier than normal prosecutors, and there is no reason to fear that – like Starr, Walsh or Barrett – his only mission in life is to be the full-time, personal prosecutor for a few beleaguered public servants. (This investigation, in fact, has cost the public a bare fraction of what those other magillas cost.) (I mean no disrespect to Judge Starr, who was actually criticized by the media and Democrats when he tried to do work other than the Clinton investigation.) Nor is there reason to think Pat has conducted his special prosecutor function absent the perspective a normal prosecutor has from having to allocate resources over a large number of cases – the truth is actually the opposite.