Losing out on a $10 billion Pentagon defense contract has Amazon pulling out all the legal tricks in its arsenal to subvert the outcome and possibly reverse the Department of Defense’s decision to award the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud indenture to Microsoft. One new trick Amazon is looking to implore in its bag of courtroom goodies now includes deposing the President of the United States.
According to court filings that have recently become unsealed (via Washington Journal) and open to the public, Amazon is attempting to do what the United States Congress and Senate were unable to do for the past three and half months regarding presidential impeachment, and that is to get President Trump to sit down and answer questions under deposition.
Amazon’s AWS filing is asking that the seven “individuals who were instrumental” in awarding the JEDI contract to Microsoft be deposed to understand the level of involvement that their actions may have swayed the final decision.
Amazon has made it public on several instances that it believes President Trump and his administration have meddled and tampered with the DoD’s adjudication of the contract and ultimately besmirched any chances AWS had at procuring the JEDI agreement. When speaking with CNBC News, an Amazon spokesperson reiterated the company’s claims,
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.
However, without much evidence to back up their claims, Amazon is looking to get what it believes are key witnesses, including the President, to speak on matters that include private conversations, specific instructions relayed from the President to other acting parties, or general “efforts to harm Amazon or AWS,” in the past or near future.
While both houses within the US legislative branch were unsuccessful in getting President Trump deposed on claims of abuse of power regarding election interference, Amazon believes, in its filings, that it can request the President, General Mattis, Mark Esper, and DoD CIO Dana Deasy to answer specific questions about the JEDI adjudication.
While other individuals can testify about specific conversations he had with them individually, President Trump is the only individual who can testify about the totality of his conversations and the overall message he conveyed. Moreover, President Trump has unique knowledge about whether he had other, previously undisclosed conversations with individuals not previously identified, and who therefore do not appear on the deposition list.
In addition to targeting President Trump specifically, it seems that Mattis and Esper are in Amazon’s crosshairs for what the company believes is “highly, relevant, first-hand knowledge about Trump’s animus toward Mr. Bezos and Amazon,” as well as information as to why a second examination was conducted at the behest of the president late into the bidding process.
Ironically, Amazon now finds itself on the receiving end of an alleged biased conclusion regarding the JEDI contract. Publically, President Trump announced his involvement with the JEDI contract as part of an investigation into claims brought up by Oracle against the DoD regarding a conflict of interest with Amazon. The DoD ultimately prevailed in court against the claims that “that a top aide to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis worked with Mattis and others to steer the contracting process to favor Amazon Web Services or AWS—and enrich the aide.”
With Microsoft and The White House providing little to no comment regarding Amazon’s claims, the jilted cloud provider has taken the past few months to suck up the news oxygen with filings and claims disparaging both Azure and President Trump, however, there doesn’t seem to be much movement with the company’s legal blitzkrieg as of yet.