Published: Wed, February 12, 2020
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Amazon Challenges Trump Over JEDI Contract

Amazon Challenges Trump Over JEDI Contract

The Seattle-based tech giant alleged in a January 17 court filing that Trump's "personal animus" towards Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos resulted in the company losing out on a massive cloud computing contract for the Department of Defense.

Amazon on Monday asked to a federal court to allow its attorneys to depose President Donald Trump in connection with a lawsuit alleging that the president improperly pressured the Department of Defense, preventing the Pentagon from awarding a $10 billion contract to the company.

The other individuals "can testify about specific conversations he had with them", Amazon's lawyers said.

Amazon filed a notice in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in November that said it planned to contest the Pentagon's decision to give Microsoft the cloud-computing contract.

"The Department of Defense strongly opposes Amazon's effort to question some of its leaders, " Department of Defense spokesman Lieutanant Colonel Robert Carver said.

It says that president Trump played a pivotal role, arguing that he dislikes the company's chief, Jeff Bezos, mostly because of his involvement with The Washington Post.

The contract was awarded to Microsoft in late October after Esper announced he would "reexamine" the Pentagon's approach to JEDI. Oracle and IBM are also protesting it.

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After becoming Secretary of Defense in July, Esper started reviewing the JEDI contract in August.

At stake is a $10 billion cloud-computing contract.

The company had also sought to block Microsoft and the Pentagon from starting work on the contract while the litigation is ongoing, but the court has not yet ruled on that. The company is deposing President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esperm, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and four others. In addition to the public tweets and comments made in the criticism of Amazon and Mr. Bezos, he instructed DoD to "screw Amazon", out-of-the-JEDI contract, "ordered once more in summer season 2019 at the newest, that the DoD was once "very good looking" when purchasing JEDI, primarily based by itself declare from a "Immense ... complaints" about the WORLD".

In the lawsuit, Amazon said it seeks discovery "demonstrating exactly how President Trump's order to "screw Amazon" was carried out during the decision making process".

Amazon has launched a legal challenge against the Department of Defense's preference to Microsoft Azure, suggesting the decision is linked back to President Trump's hostility towards CEO Jeff Bezos. Microsoft argued in court papers that it had won the JEDI procurement because it submitted a cheaper and "technically superior" bid and not because of political interference by Trump.

Following Monday's unsealing of Amazon's motion to supplement the record, nonprofit government ethics watchdogs Project Democracy and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed amicus briefs in support of the company's request for more information.

Amazon is looking for more information about what happened before and after that review, including an alleged comment that surfaced in a book past year that said Mr Trump privately told then-defence secretary Jim Mattis to "screw Amazon" out of the contract.

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