Amazon is seeking to depose US President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, former Defense Secretary James Mattis and others over how the Pentagon’s $10bn JEDI cloud computing contract was awarded to Microsoft.
In court documents which were recently unsealed and filed, the ecommerce giant’s cloud computing division AWS said that it is currently trying to depose seven “individuals who were instrumental” in the JEDI source selection that “played pivotal roles” in Microsoft being awarded the contract.
In addition to Trump, Mattis and Esper, AWS is also seeking to depose Dana Deasy who is the chief information officer of the Defense Department, the source selection authority that awarded the contract to Microsoft and the chairpersons of the SSA, according to the documents.
In a statement to CNBC, a spokesperson for AWS provided more details on the matter, 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. The preservation of public confidence in the nation’s procurement process requires discovery and supplementation of the administrative record, particularly in light of President Trump’s order to ‘screw Amazon.’ The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of the DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends.”
The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract could end up being worth up to $10bn over a 10 year period. While Amazon was initially seen as the favorite to win the contract, the Pentagon ended up selecting Microsoft instead.
Back in November, Amazon filed a notice in the US Court of Federal Claims indicating that it planned to protest the Pentagon’s decision to award Microsoft the contract, claiming the JEDI evaluation process had “clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias”. In court documents made public in December, Amazon said that Trump launched “behind-the-scenes attacks” against it which led to it losing out on the contract.
AWS is trying to depose Trump about his involvement in the bidding process, including any private conversations he had about it or instructions he gave regarding the award as well as any “efforts to harm Amazon or AWS”.
Amazon’s cloud computing arm wants to depose Mattis as he claims to have “highly relevant, first-hand knowledge about Trump’s animus toward Mr. Bezos and Amazon and the efforts President Trump took to pressure DoD officials” regarding the contract. AWS also claims that Esper intervened in the JEDI award process to “conduct an ‘examination’ at President Trump’s behest”.