By Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc on Monday accused U.S. President Donald Trump of exerting “improper pressure” and bias that led the Department of Defense to award a lucrative $10 billion cloud contract to rival Microsoft Corp.
In a complaint filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Amazon said Trump launched “repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer” the Pentagon cloud contract called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, popularly known as JEDI, away from Amazon Web Services. Here is a link to the complaint: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Px4rCp
The heavily redacted complaint said Trump’s motive was to “harm his perceived political enemy-Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of AWS’s parent company, Amazon.com … and owner of the Washington Post.”
Trump’s interference made it impossible for the Pentagon to judge a winner “reasonably, consistently, an in a fair and equal manner,” Amazon said.
Trump has long criticized Bezos and Amazon over low tax payments and accused the Washington Post of acting as a lobbyist for Bezos and Amazon and spreading “fake news.”
Amazon called for a reevaluation of the proposals submitted to the Pentagon and a new award decision.
“The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends,” the 103-page complaint said.
Amazon and the Department of Defense did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Details from the complaint were first reported by Bloomberg last week.
In recent congressional testimony, a top Pentagon technology official, Dana Deasy, denied that Trump or the White House influenced the JEDI selection process.
A challenge to the Defense Department’s award announced in October was widely expected by legal experts, analysts and consultants, especially after Trump publicly derided Amazon’s bid for the high-stakes contract.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang)