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Amazon wants to question Trump over $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract

Microsoft was awarded the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract in October.

AWS has accused President Donald Trump of influencing the selection process.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing arm of the online retail giant, has asked a federal court for permission to question President Donald Trump about a multibillion dollar Pentagon contract that was awarded to Microsoft. In court documents unsealed Monday, AWS said it wants to collect depositions from seven people related to its allegations of "bias and bad faith" in how the contract was awarded.

"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," said an AWS spokesperson in an emailed statement Monday, which was earlier reported by CNBC. "The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of the [Department of Defense] to pursue his own personal and political ends."

The White House didn't respond to a request for comment. 

Microsoft was awarded the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract in October. The cloud computing deal could be worth up to $10 billion over 10 years. Amazon filed suit in the US Court of Federal Claims against the Defense Department, and last month asked the court to halt Microsoft's work on the contract.

Microsoft declined to comment.

AWS said in the court documents that it wants to question Trump about his communications and interactions with decision makers and other companies bidding for the JEDI contract. The president's "interference in the JEDI procurement, and how President Trump's actions, comments, and directives were communicated to, understood by, and ultimately affected DoD decision makers, raise grave concerns," AWS said in the court documents. 

In addition to Trump, AWS is seeking depositions from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy and other individuals whose names were redacted. 

A spokeswoman for the Department of Defense said AWS' request to depose senior officials was "unnecessary" and "burdensome," adding that the department remains confident in the JEDI award and is focused on "equipping our warfighters for an increasingly complex and challenging battlefield environment."

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Originally published Feb. 10, 9:32 a.m. PT.
Updates, 10:20 a.m.: Adds response from Microsoft and Defense Department. 10:59 a.m.: Adds comment from AWS.