Although Amazon has sought to depose Mr. Trump and senior Defense Department officials to fight against the award to Microsoft, its legal arguments challenging the way the contract was awarded have focused on how the Defense Department did not accurately assess the way that it would be charged for certain services.
In February, Judge Campbell-Smith sided with Amazon on the pricing issue, issuing a temporary injunction that prevented Microsoft from continuing to work with the Defense Department on the contract.
The back-and-forth has put the Pentagon in an awkward spot. Last month, speaking to reporters at the Munich Security Conference, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper argued that it was time to abandon challenges and move ahead with building the cloud. Time was of the essence, he said, and American national security was on the line.
“It’s important to the war-fighters that we move forward on this contract,” he said. “We have to move forward. It’s gone on too long. ”
When asked whether he was pressured on who could receive the $ 12 billion contract, Mr. Esper said, “Look, I’m not going to get into that part, because I don’t talk about my discussions with the president and White House officials.”
He said he educated himself about the Pentagon’s transition to the cloud when he took office last year and said he “heard a lot” about the competition to build it, particularly on Capitol Hill, before ultimately recusing himself from the decision over the award because his son works at IBM, one of the companies that bid on the contract.
But when a reporter pointed out he had left open the possibility of pressure from Mr. Trump or other aides, he said: “I never felt pressure from the White House.”
Kate Conger reported from San Francisco and David E. Sanger from Washington.