Feb 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Amazon wants to depose Trump in lawsuit over $10 billion Pentagon contract

Trump and Esper with their hands over their hearts.
President Trump with Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon wants to depose President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and former Defense Secretary James Mattis as part of its lawsuit against the Pentagon for granting a $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft, court documents filed on Monday show.

Why it matters: Amazon claims the decision last year to hand Microsoft a $10 billion contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) was influenced by Trump, who has repeatedly and publicly taken shots at Amazon and its owner Jeff Bezos.

  • A book written by a former Mattis speechwriter claims that Trump ordered the former defense secretary to "screw Amazon" out of the contract.

Details: Amazon wants to question the president about his communications with its competitors and with Pentagon officials to establish his "well-documented personal animus towards Mr. Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post," per the court filing.

  • The company wants to depose Mattis to understand alleged "efforts President Trump took to pressure DoD officials.”
  • Amazon alleges Esper intervened in the JEDI award process to conduct an "examination" at Trump's request.

What they're saying: “President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions — including federal procurements — to advance his personal agenda,” said Amazon Web Services spokesperson Drew Herdener, according to the Washington Post.

  • Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver said in a statement: "DoD strongly opposes the Amazon Web Services request to depose senior DoD leaders. The request is unnecessary, burdensome and merely seeks to delay getting this important technology into the hands of our warfighters."

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