WASHINGTON — Amazon wants to depose President Donald Trump over the tech company’s losing bid for a $10 billion military contract.
The Pentagon awarded the cloud computing project to Microsoft in October. Amazon later sued, arguing that Trump’s interference and bias against the company harmed Amazon’s chances of winning.
The Pentagon was preparing to make its final decision when Trump publicly waded into the fray in July, saying he had heard complaints about the process and that the administration would “take a very long look.” He said other companies told him that the contract “wasn’t competitively bid,” Military News reports.
Amazon was considered an early frontrunner for a project that Pentagon officials have described as critical to advancing the US military’s technological advantage over adversaries.
The project, known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or Jedi, will store and process vast amounts of classified data, allowing the US military to improve communications with soldiers on the battlefield and use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities.
The Pentagon was preparing to announce its decision between the finalists, Amazon and Microsoft, when Trump publicly waded into the fray in July.
Trump said then that other companies told him the contract “wasn’t competitively bid”, and he said the administration would “take a very long look”.
Amazon’s court filing cites an alleged comment that surfaced in a recent book that said Trump in 2018 privately told the then defense secretary, Jim Mattis, to “screw Amazon” out of the contract.
Amazon said it wanted more information about the “unusual timing” of Esper recusing himself from the decision-making process because of his son’s work for IBM. That came in October, long after IBM was no longer in the running for the contract and despite Esper earlier pledging to take a “hard look” at the bids after Trump ordered the review.
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Dean James at Right Wing Tribune