Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world's largest provider of cloud computing services, wants to formally depose President Donald Trump in a courtroom to prove their contention it was his personal intervention that deprived it of a $10 billion contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.
The most profitable subsidiary of Amazon.com, AWS is owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world. Bezos also owns Washington Post, a liberal newspaper that's been unsparingly critical of Trump.
Bezos contends it was Trump's hatred of the Post and himself that led Trump to pressure the Pentagon to rescind the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract initially awarded AWS. The contract was awarded to AWS competitor, Microsoft Corporation, on Oct. 25, 2019, after a new Pentagon review conducted after Trump's criticism of AWS and Bezos.
On Nov. 22, 2019, Amazon filed a lawsuit in federal court contesting the October decision by the Department of Defense. Court documents later unsealed show Amazon places the blame for losing the JEDI contract squarely on Trump. It argues Trump used his power as president to influence the contract decision as part of his "personal vendetta" against Amazon and Bezos.
On Monday, Amazon announced its intention to depose Trump and six Trump officials over the JEDI contract fiasco. It also wants to depose Defense Secretary Mark Esper, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Defense Department's chief information officer, Dana Deasy, and two members of source selection authority.
In court documents unsealed and filed Monday, AWS said it wants to depose seven "individuals who were instrumental" in the JEDI source selection and "played pivotal roles" in the ultimate awarding of the contract.
"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 a statement.
"The preservation of public confidence in the nation's procurement the 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."
AWS said it wants to depose Trump about his involvement in the bidding process, including any private conversations that took place or any instructions that were given regarding the award, as well as any "efforts to harm Amazon or AWS."
"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," said the filings.
"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."