ALBANY -- When U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara made his first trip to Albany in February 2016, he joked about his future.

As a Bruce Springsteen superfan and with the rocker in Albany that night, Bharara said at a talk, "So, let me put it this way: Given Bruce Springsteen is in town, I was not born to run."

That joke is now carrying more weight.

Bharara's firing Saturday as the federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York has renewed speculation about his political future after a seven-year tenure highlighted by corruption busting in state government.

He refused the request Friday from the Department of Justice to resign along with 45 other U.S. attorneys who were holdovers from the Obama administration.

Instead, Bharara forced the Trump administration to fire him -- after he said in November that Trump asked him to stay on and he agreed to do so.

"He’s going out with his head held high. In New York, anyway, he defied the president and he got fired," said Doug Muzzio, a political science professor from Baruch College in Manhattan.

"His stock is as high as it ever going to be."

On Monday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer contended what Trump and Bharara discussed in November is meaningless now, saying he wasn't privy to their conversation.

"I don’t think it really matters at the end of the day," Spicer said at his daily press briefing.

"The attorney general followed the practice that existed for the last several administrations, and asked every (U.S. attorney) from the last administration to submit their resignation."