US judge refuses to dismiss AWS claims that Trump interfered with JEDI cloud deal

Previous statements from the DoJ suggest the Pentagon's cloud computing project could be scrapped entirely if Microsoft's bid is overturned

A US Federal Claims judge has refused a request from Microsoft and the US Department of Justice to dismiss Amazon's claims that the Trump administration interfered with the bidding process for the Pentagon's JEDI contract.

Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith decision on Wednesday paves the way for further review of a lawsuit filed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2019, which has maintained that the deal to provide cloud services was unfairly awarded to Microsoft.

The cloud giant claimed that the bidding for the $10 billion Joint Enterprise and Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud migration contract was flawed and that the then president, Donald Trump, had used his position to influence the final decision.

"The record of improper influence by former President Trump is disturbing, and we are pleased the Court will review the remarkable impact it had on the JEDI contract award," an AWS spokesperson said. "We continue to look forward to the Court's review of the many material flaws in the DoD's evaluation."

The claims against Trump have been widely reported but, until now, haven't been considered in a legal setting. According to a book written by Guy Snodgrass, 'Holding The Line', former Pentagon secretary James Mattis claimed that the president directed him to "screw Amazon" out of a chance to bid on the JEDI contract.

In response to the decision to reject its motion, Microsoft said that it "changes little" and that professional procurement staff at the DoD chose the tech giant after a thorough review.

"We've continued for more than a year to do the internal work necessary to move forward on JEDI quickly, and we continue to work with DoD, as we have for more than 40 years, on mission-critical initiatives like supporting its rapid shift to remote work and the Army's IVAS," said Frank Shaw, Microsoft's CVP of communications.

Judge Campbell-Smith had previously ruled that the DoD had "improperly evaluated" a price scenario, stating that part of Microsoft's bid was not "technically feasible". As a result, the tech giant has not been able to start working on the Pentagon's $10 billion JEDI project.

The Department of Defence (DoD) has previously suggested that it would scrap the project entirely if AWS was successful in its legal challenge.

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