Topline: Amazon on Monday escalated its fierce opposition to Microsoft winning a lucrative government contract by calling for testimony from the president and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, according to court documents.
- In a filing with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Amazon Web Services asked a judge to allow depositions from Trump, Esper, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Defense Department Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy.
- Amazon is also asking for court-ordered discovery, meaning the company wants the Trump administration to hand over documents and emails relating to the contract.
- AWS, the e-commerce giant’s cloud computing division, lost its bid to provide the military with cloud infrastructure to Microsoft in October.
- Amazon claims it lost the $10 billion contract because Trump is personally biased against CEO Jeff Bezos for his ownership of the Washington Post, which Trump claims publishes unfair and negative coverage about him.
- The filing cites Trump’s tweets attacking Bezos, including one calling him “Jeff Bozo,” and a passage from an October 2019 book by Mattis’s speechwriter, who wrote that Trump said he wanted to “screw Amazon” out of the contract, as evidence of the president’s intent and hostility toward Amazon.
Key background: The drama surrounding the contract started even before Amazon lost. IBM and Oracle filed complaints with the Government Accountability Office alleging the Pentagon was biased toward Amazon (both claims were eventually dismissed). Responding to those complaints, Trump at one point said he would “look” into the bidding process, stoking fears from lawmakers that the contract might be delayed.
Crucial quote: “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,” an AWS spokesperson said.
Rachel Sandler, Forbes Staff