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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon's 2019 was full of headline-grabbing moments — everything from political fights to new records for the company that have upended the way we shop.

The big picture: The tech giant's year started with a fight with New York City and ended with its biggest single sales day in history. And there were plenty of dramatic days in between.

Amazon hit new highs.

  • The company briefly crossed a trillion dollars in value, becoming the second company to do so after Apple.
  • It broke ground on a new headquarters in D.C.
  • And it crossed 100 million Prime members in the U.S.
  • This Cyber Monday was Amazon's highest volume day ever.

But the tech giant made plenty of enemies along the way.

  • Amazon is fighting with President Trump, who has turned the firm into a frequent Twitter target.
  • It's suing the Pentagon over a $10 billion dollar defense contract.
  • It has been singled out more than any other company by 2020 candidates. And Elizabeth Warren has specifically called for Amazon to be broken up.
  • Amazon got into such a messy fight with New York and AOC over its decision to put a new headquarters there that it pulled out of deal.
  • And the long-time rivalry between Amazon and Walmart intensified this year, with the two giants battling on Twitter over worker pay and corporate taxes.

On top of that, this was the year of bad Amazon PR.

  • A trio of November investigations spotlighted safety hazards and high rates of injury — and even death — in Amazon's warehouses and on its delivery routes. Compare that to six years ago, when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was interviewed on CBS' 60 Minutes about drone delivery, and the company was lauded. "If there is such a thing as Santa's workshop, this would be it," the show said of an Amazon fulfillment center.
  • And there were stories about counterfeit or dangerous products being sold on the Amazon platform.
  • Bezos himself was the subject of a leak that made private text messages public — all while he went through a high-profile divorce.

The bottom line: It's been a tumultuous year for Amazon and its CEO, but the company continues to get bigger — and richer — largely because consumers love it so much.

  • Says Ryan Hamilton, a business professor at Emory University: "Leaving Amazon requires a lot of sacrifice. To cancel Amazon Prime? That's a lifestyle change. You need to be really worked up to do that, and some people are. But most are like, 'Meh.'"

Go deeper: What Amazon knows about you

Go deeper

Former D.C. Guard alleges Army Generals lied about Jan. 6 response

Members of the National Guard and Capitol police keep a small group of pro-Trump demonstrators away from the Capitol following the insurrection on Jan. 6. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A former D.C. National Guard official has alleged that top Army generals "lied" to Congress in their testimony on the U.S. Capitol riot, Politico first reported Monday.

The big picture: Col. Earl Matthews, who was serving on Jan. 6, alleges in a memo that the official version on the military response is "worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist" and that the Pentagon inspector general's November report on it features "myriad inaccuracies, false or misleading statements, or examples of faulty analysis."

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.