Amazon wants to depose Trump in challenge over $10B Pentagon contract

Amazon wants President Trump and other officials to answer questions under oath after the administration decided not to award them a $10 billion cloud-computing contract with the Department of Defense.

The contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), was a source of controversy from competing tech firms as well as members of Congress. Amazon Web Services (AWS) had been viewed as the favorite to receive the contract, but after the Trump administration said it was going to look into it further, Microsoft came away as the big winner.


"AWS seeks leave to notice the depositions of seven individuals who were instrumental in the JEDI source selection and played pivotal roles in the ultimate JEDI Contract award," AWS said in a court document that was unsealed Monday. Those individuals are Trump, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, current Defense Secretary Mark Esper, DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, and other individuals whose names were redacted.

In a statement to Fox News, an AWS spokesperson implied that Trump specifically blocked Amazon from getting the lucrative deal due to personal issues.

"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 statement said, questioning whether Trump "should be allowed to use the budget of the DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends."

In court filings, AWS said that Trump has a "well-documented personal animus towards" Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos, and the Bezos-owned Washington Post. AWS claims that Trump once ordered Mattis to "screw Amazon" out of the contract.

The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

In July, Trump commented that he had been "getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon." In August, the Pentagon said Esper would review JEDI before making a decision.


Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted in August that he had spoken to Trump and was glad that Esper was taking another look at JEDI before making a final decision.

"We must make sure it is a fair process & delivers what @DeptofDefense needs," he said.

Oracle, which had also bid on the JEDI contract, filed a protest claiming that unfairly high standards and alleged conflicts of interest all played in Amazon's favor. After the DoD took a closer look, spokesperson Heather Babb told Fox News that while the DoD did not find any "adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process," there were "some potential ethics concerns" that were referred to the department's Inspector General's Office.

A House Appropriations Committee report addressed JEDI's plan to have a single vendor handle cloud computing by stating they were “concerned with this approach given the rapid pace of innovation in the industry and that this approach may lock the Department of Defense into a single provider for potentially as long as ten years.”


The DoD claimed that a single vendor would be more cost-effective and better for national security.

The contract that went to Microsoft says that the tech giant's work can be reassessed after two years and gives the government the option to pull out of the contract.

Fox News' Adam Shaw, Morgan Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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