President Donald Trump reportedly wants to “scuttle” the bidding process for a $10 billion cloud contract with the Pentagon and start over, CNN reported.
“Trump wants to scuttle this process and possibly reopen it back up again with extra guardrails,” a source close to the White House told CNN.
The deal in question is the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), in which a single vendor will provide cloud infrastructure to the Department of Defense over the next 10 years. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are the two finalists for the award, though Amazon is widely expected to walk away the winner.
CNN also reports that White House aides have shown Trump a document insinuating a conspiracy to award the deal to Amazon. That document, a chart titled “A Conspiracy To Create A Ten Year DoD Cloud Monopoly,” is said to feature links to images of Amazon executives and employees, as well as dollar signs and even a heart, as CNN reports.
Notably, the report also says that the document is identical to one created by Ken Glueck, executive VP at Oracle and the database giant’s chief Washington lobbyist. Glueck reportedly has a blown-up version of the chart hanging on his office window at Oracle’s Washington DC office.
Oracle declined comment. Business Insider has also reached out to Amazon Web Services, the White House, and the Department of Defense and will update if we hear back.
Trump could intervene
Oracle, which was knocked out of contention for the deal an earlier stage, recently lost a legal challenge alleging that the JEDI bidding process was “ riddled with improprieties” that largely favored Amazon. That loss seemed to clear the way for either Amazon or Microsoft to officially win the deal, with the actual contract expected to be awarded in late August.
However, the possible intervention of Trump would throw the outcome of the deal into question once more.
Trump has already demanded more information about JEDI, and promised to look into the deal after receiving letters on the matter from lawmakers including Sen. Marco Rubio.
However, there are some on Capitol Hill who want to see the process go through, unimpeded: Four Republican lawmakers recently wrote to Trump that delaying the JEDI award could harm national security.
Industry experts recently told Business Insider that if Trump does decide to personally intervene, it could result in both Microsoft and Amazon coming out as losers in the JEDI deal.
A revised contract could mean that JEDI will be awarded to multiple companies, with each vendor contracted to supply a certain slice of the DoD’s infrastructure — meaning that Amazon and Microsoft, once the favorites to win the entirety of a $10 billion deal, would actually walk away with smaller slices of a larger pie.
Some of those experts have speculated that Trump’s public feud with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — who also owns the Washington Post, which has published coverage critical of the president — might have something to do with Trump’s willingness to look into the deal.
“The president has made his feelings about Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and the Washington Post well-known, and he may find the prospect of denying Amazon a $10 billion contract irresistible,” Christopher Cornillie, a Bloomberg Government analyst, recently told Business Insider.