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."

Go deeper: Jeff Bezos has won the Trump era

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,929,312 — Total deaths: 357,781 — Total recoveries — 2,385,926Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,709,996 — Total deaths: 101,002 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Business: Louisiana senator says young people are key to reopening the economy —U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter, round two

President Trump is escalating his response to Twitter’s fact check of his recent tweets about mail-in voting, issuing an executive order that's designed to begin limiting social media's liability protections. Dan digs in with Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.

Go deeper: Twitter vs. Trump... vs. Twitter

39 mins ago - Politics & Policy