Amazon accuses Trump of 'well-documented personal animus' in court filing

Ruben Fields
February 12, 2020

As part of an evidence gathering phase of an appeal on the awarding of the "JEDI" contract to upgrade the U.S. military's computing networks, Amazon asked a judge to call for depositions of Trump and other administration figures including Defense Secretary Mark Esper and his predecessor, James Mattis.

When the US Department of Defense awarded Microsoft the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, it wasn't if Amazon Web Services (AWS) would sue to overturn the massive government contract, it was when.

"To effectively review AWS's allegations of bias and bad faith, this Court must know "what actually transpired" within DoD as a result of the President's interference", Amazon's motion says. "Even before taking office, Trump campaigned on a promise that Amazon would "have problems" if he became President".

The Defense Department only said it would hold off the substantial implementation work with Microsoft until February 11-a window that AWS argues doesn't provide almost enough time for a satisfactory resolution in federal court.

"Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to disrupt the orderly administration of government functions - including federal procurements - to advance personal motives", reads the filing, which was released on Monday with redactions. Amazon believes that these individuals were instrumental in awarding the JEDI contract to Microsoft. IBM and Oracle were previously eliminated from the contract process, which they both protested, but lost, in court.

The contract involved a 10-year project to build a so-called "war cloud" for the military, labeled "JEDI".

President Donald Trump gestures as he walks to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington
President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

A main crux of AWS' case, first filed in November and then unsealed in December, is that public comments by Trump and his private words to DOD leaders affected the behind-the-scenes source selection process and swung the award in October to Microsoft.

Besides seeking Trump's deposition, Amazon is also asking to depose Mattis, Esper, and other government officials. "There had been a large number of feedback from the public - and earlier than the contract was once awarded, he was once mentioned to have employed Secretary of Defense James Mattis, "Screw Amazon", from the JEDI contract - WORLD want to learn about his non-public interviews with the ones answerable for the award of the contract".

Amazon argued in its filing that the meetings of that unnamed official with Esper "aligns strikingly" with the timing of the selection process.

Amazon said that Mr Trump is the only who can give evidence about the "totality of his conversations and the overall message he conveyed" about the bidding process.

Amazon's attorneys said the tech giant "recognizes that a deposition of a sitting President of the United States presents unique circumstances".

Amazon's lawsuit highlights that the company is in search if getting an insight into how exactly was the Pentagon's decision tampered by President Trump.

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