Amazon wants to depose President Trump over allegations that he personally ordered the Pentagon “to screw” the company out of a $10 billion contract.
The Seattle-based tech giant alleged in a Jan. 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.
“President Donald J. 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. “There is no question he did so here.”
Amazon sued the Defense Department and Microsoft in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims last year, claiming that the Pentagon wrongly awarded the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract to a rival in the cloud computing business, Microsoft.
The company is seeking to depose Trump to “develop facts not currently known or accessible to [Amazon] demonstrating exactly how President Trump’s order to ‘screw Amazon’ was carried out during the decision-making process.”
Amazon also wants to depose Defense Secretary Mark Esper, his predecessor James Mattis, DOD Chief Information Office Dana Deasy, and a number of people whose identities are redacted.
In the filing, Amazon accused Trump of acting on his “personal and political interests” in diverting the $10 billion contract to Microsoft.
Citing statements from the 2016 campaign where Trump said that the tech monolith would “have problems” were he to be elected, the firm argued that the contract award marks yet another example of the President warping parts of the government towards his personal benefit.
“This bid protest also occurs against the background of impeachment — the third in the history of the United States — and which is grounded in the President’s repeated refusal to separate his personal interests from the national interest,” the filing reads.
Attorneys for Amazon argued that Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post particularly attracted Trump’s ire, allegedly spurring him to order subordinates to award the JEDI contract to Microsoft.
The tech giant cited an October 2019 congressional hearing in which Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, was asked if “he could categorically assure” lawmakers that the President did not influence the contract award.
Deasy purportedly replied that he believed the “team members that actually” made the decision were not influenced, a reply that Amazon described in the filing as “equivocat[ing].”
President Trump has launched a series of broadsides against Bezos, including the characteristic series of angry tweets.
Last week, White House adviser Peter Navarro told The Hill that Bezos had refused to meet with him about a plan to fight back against counterfeiting on Amazon’s sales platform.
Hours later, Bezos posted the following on Instagram in apparent reference to Navarro:
“Let’s say you’re at a big cocktail party and someone you don’t know comes up to you while you’re talking to your dad and girlfriend and asks for a meeting. Let’s say this person is the kind of person who actually uses the word ‘minions’ to describe the people who work for you.”
“How do you respond?”
Read the filing here: