Trump Ordered Mattis to “Screw Amazon” Out of Pentagon Contract, Book Alleges

This is not a real thing Trump said. But it doesn't seem like something he wouldn't say, does it?Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

On Friday, the Pentagon awarded a massive cloud computing contract to Microsoft. People had been expecting the contract to go to Amazon and the switcheroo led many to assume President Trump intervened, given his regular complaining about Jeff Bezos and the “Amazon Washington Post.” Quoth said paper:

Few thought Microsoft would beat out Amazon for the massive contract, and legal analysts said the president’s role in the procurement will almost certainly become the subject of litigation.

“It’s crystal clear here that the President of the United States did not want this contract to be awarded to one of the competitors,” said Franklin Turner, an attorney with the law firm McCarter & English. “As a result it’s fairly likely that we will see a number of challenges that the procurement was not conducted on a level playing field.”

Guy Snodgrass, one-time aide to former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, alleged in a book that was published only recently that Trump had indeed attempted to intervene. Here’s Task & Purpose, via Jake Tapper:

Trump called Mattis in the summer of 2018 and directed him to “screw Amazon” out of a chance to bid on a $10 billion cloud networking contract.

[…]

Snodgrass writes: “Relaying the story to us during Small Group, Mattis said, ‘We’re not going to do that. This will be done by the book, both legally and ethically.”

The Department of Defense defended its decision in a statement yesterday, saying that that everything was mad legit:

“The acquisition process was conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.”

and totally cool and stuff:

All parties, the statement said, “were treated fairly and evaluated consistently with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria.”

But not everyone is convinced! 

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.