U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Image

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman released a statement late Friday night indicating he has "no intention of resigning," and will "step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate."

Why it matters: Berman said he learned of his own departure when Attorney General Bill Barr put out a press release earlier Friday evening announcing Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton had been nominated for the position and that Berman would be "stepping down."

  • The Manhattan U.S. attorney oversees one of the highest profile districts in the country, and has supervised probes involving President Trump, his campaign and a number of his ex-associates.
  • Berman's office has been conducting a criminal investigation into Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in a campaign finance case, The Washington Post reports. Two of Giuliani's associates have already been charged in the investigation.
  • Federal prosecutors have investigated Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen and sex offender Jeffery Epstein under Berman's leadership.

Yes, but: Berman "is almost uniquely positioned to resist efforts to oust him, at least for a while," the Post writes, given that he was appointed by a federal court in his district. Some legal precedents suggest that only that court can remove him until a replacement is confirmed by the Senate.

The big picture: Friday night's attempt to push Berman out brings "new attention on the efforts by Mr. Trump and his closes aides to rid the administration of officials whom the president views as insufficiently loyal," The New York Times writes.

  • It also raises questions about whether Barr "has undercut [the Justice Department's] tradition of independence from political interference."

What Berman's saying:

“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney.  I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate.  Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption.  I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this Office to pursue justice without fear or favor – and intend to ensure that this Office’s important cases continue unimpeded.”

Go deeper

Scoop: House Judiciary prepares to subpoena Attorney General Bill Barr

US Attorney General William Barr. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is preparing to subpoena Attorney General Bill Barr for his testimony on July 2, a committee spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The expected subpoena comes after the firing of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who had been investigating President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

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The state of play: Axios' Stef Kight writes public parades and fireworks displays around much of the country are being canceled to prevent mass gatherings where the virus could spread. Hot-dog contests and concerts will play to empty stands and virtual audiences — all while American pride treads an all-time low.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 2,809,108 — Total deaths: 129,509 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: America's exceptionally uneventful Fourth of July ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
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