Amazon seeks to depose Trump about ‘order to screw Amazon’ in Pentagon deal


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Amazon Web Services said on Monday it was seeking to depose President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper in its lawsuit over whether the president was trying “to screw Amazon” when it awarded a Pentagon contract for cloud computing to rival Microsoft Corp(MSFT.O).

The Inc (AMZN.O) unit alleged that Trump, who has publicly derided Amazon head Jeff Bezos and repeatedly criticized the company, exerted undue influence on the decision to deny it the $10 billion contract.

Known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud, or JEDI, the contract is intended to give the military better access to data and technology from remote locations.

An Amazon spokesperson said the “preservation of public confidence in the nation’s procurement process requires discovery…particularly in light of President Trump’s order to screw Amazon.”

“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 spokesperson said.

“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 spokesperson added.

Last month, Amazon filed a motion in court to delay the Department of Defense deal with Microsoft until a court rules on its protest of the contract award.

The procurement process has been delayed by legal complaints and conflict of interest allegations. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has denied that there was bias and said the Pentagon made its choice fairly and freely without external influence.

Reporting by David Shepardson, Nandita Bose and Lisa Lambert in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio