Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Is Angling To Depose Trump In Fight Over $10 Billion Cloud Contract
Chris White on February 10, 2020
Amazon wants a federal court to force President Donald Trump to testify about the Department of Defense’s decision to award a major project to Microsoft, court documents filed Monday show.
The company also wants former Secretary of Defense James Mattis to discuss in court elements of Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, a $10 billion cloud computing project Amazon was in line to obtain. Amazon also wants to depose Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Amazon acknowledges that deposing a sitting president in a contract protest is unlikely to bear fruit. “A deposition of a sitting President of the United States presents unique circumstances,” the company noted in a footnote to the filing.
Amazon is moving forward regardless.
“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 company noted in a press statement.
“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 statement concluded. The company also said Trump lodged “repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks” against its CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon was long considered a front-runner for JEDI, but the tech behemoth fell out of favor shortly after Trump found out about the deal. The decision to give Microsoft the deal came in October 2019 after Trump, a Bezos critic, instructed DOD in August 2019 to put the contract on hold.
Things only got dicier for the company as reports appeared to show problems in the contract-bidding process.
Oracle, a computing giant, stated in a May 2019 complaint that Amazon offered former DOD official Deap Ubhi shares in the company and a salary with the tech giant while he was finding a company to help build out JEDI. Ubhi never recused himself, according to the document.
White House officials showed Trump a document in 2019 that connects Ubhi and others to a ploy awarding Amazon the 10-year contract, CNN reported in July 2019, citing documents. The document is identical to one from Oracle lobbyist Kenneth Glueck, an executive vice president with the company.
The Daily Caller News Foundation independently confirmed the existence of the flow charts.
Other reports showed similar problems.
Mattis attended a dinner in 2017 with an Amazon executive involved in working to secure a multi-billion dollar federal contract, The Wall Street Journal reported in July 2019. He attended the event with Teresa Carlson, vice president of Amazon’s worldwide public sector services.
The dinner ultimately helped forge another meeting in August 2017 between Mattis and Amazon founder Bezos, the report noted, citing emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Amazon has not responded to the DCNF’s repeated requests for comment on JEDI.
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