Feb 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

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

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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Amazon lawsuit causes judge to temporarily block Microsoft Pentagon contract

Jeff Bezos. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the $10 billion cloud computing contract the Defense Department awarded to Microsoft as it reviews a lawsuit by Amazon, CNBC reports.

The big picture: Amazon claims the decision to hand Microsoft the contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project in late October was influenced by President Trump, who has repeatedly and publicly taken shots at Amazon and its owner Jeff Bezos.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 13, 2020 - Technology

Podcast: Amazon wants Trump to testify

Amazon raised the stakes in its effort to get the Pentagon to reverse its decision to give Microsoft a $10 billion cloud computing contract, nicknamed JEDI, arguing that there was clear political bias. Dan digs in with NPR's Alina Selyukh. 

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

Amazon announces big earnings beat

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Amazon announced strong quarterly results Thursday after the market close, with $6.47 earnings per share on an expected $4.04 (per FactSet) and total revenue of $87.44 billion on $86.02 billion expected.

Why it matters: Wall Street has wondered whether Amazon's huge investments in one-day delivery and cloud services would depress its financial performance. This quarter, at least, gave investors a positive surprise.