By Jewish Standards, Trump Took Millions and Maybe Billions of Dollars of Saudi Bribery Money

Donald Trump, 45th President of the U.S.A.

As pointed out in the post: Regarding the Revolving Door from FDA Regulator to Employment at Pfizer. Does Halacha View this as Bribery? it is considered bribery, both for judges and public servants, to get a gift from interested parties for making the “right decision”.

Here is a few excerpts from that post.

Rama (Rabbi Moshe Isserles) ruled in accordance to the words of the Rosh:

“A judge who already issued a verdict, and the litigant then comes to give him a present that he decided the verdict in his favor, it is forbidden for the judge to accept it”.

The reason is that the judge is prone to expect a late gift from the litigant and this will disrupt his judgment. And so too did Rabbi Shmuel Mohliver write:

“And even accepting after the verdict is forbidden, because he will tilt the trial towards the person he feels will give to him after the verdict”.

And so too wrote Aruch HaShulchan:

“And after the verdict, when he decided in favor of one of the litigants who then sent him a gift for having decided in his favor, it is forbidden for him to accept, unless there was some reason that Halacha in any case determined that this benefit was due to the judge”.

Rabbi Moshe Alshich even found support for this (restriction) in the scriptures. The verse in the book of Psalms “And he did not take a bribe upon a clean one” was explained by Alshich in the following way.

“It is possible that the wording was precisely stated … and he did not take a bribe upon a clean one that even after he already emerged from his verdict, clean, he (the judge) should not take upon him, late bribery”.

According to these words, the book, Ir Mivtzar ruled that it is forbidden for a litigant to send Mishloach Manot (food gifts) to a judge who heard his case and ruled on his case before Purim, when he was not used to sending Mishloach Manot  to him beforehand.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein Discusses When It is Known the Winning Side Will Give a Gift to the Judge

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein[i] relates to the commitment of the litigant to pay the judge after he wins the trial, and this is (a translation of) his wording:

“Since he committed himself to give him at the outset, it is clear that it is forbidden by Torah law and there is no side of doubt in the matter. And not only if he actually committed himself to give afterwards, but rather, even if it was known to the judge that definitely the winning side would give him a gift after some time elapsed, this too, it is obvious is completely bribery and he would be invalid to be a judge, and his judgement is nothing”.

That is, according to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, when the judge  knows in advance that a bribe will be given, and even if it was not following an explicit commitment – this is considered an outright bribe prohibited by the Torah, and it does not amount to (just) “late bribery” and therefore even after the fact, the judgment would be annulled.

Aruch HaShulchan[ii] :

“And not specifically a judge is forbidden in accepting bribes, but even all the appointed and all those who deal with public needs, even though their laws are not Torah Law; and it is forbidden to sway the matter for love or hatred, and even more so, by taking bribes. And not necessarily monetary bribery is forbidden, but even bribery of words such as initiating greetings to the Judge if he was not accustomed to do so previously, and so too, doing him some service is forbidden if he was not accustomed to do so previously for him; even doing a small service is forbidden.”

And in the continuation of his words he wrote:

“There is one thing that the world practices as if it is permitted, but a great prohibition is contained within it. Accepting bribes and causing the public to sin and dissension and the desecration of the name of Heaven (G-d)  where there is no end to the punishment, and this situation comes when it is necessary to choose a leader in some matter related to the affairs of the city according to royal authorization and they try to place their relatives or their lovers or on account of hatred for the other, even though they know themselves that the man they want is not fit for the position as much as the other candidate and they try to lobby on behalf of whoever they want, even to the point  of saying whoever they want is good and fit, and they seduce the masses, although in front of him that knows the secrets (G-d) it is obvious that he has a vested interest in this, and they cause the city to stumble and many victims have fallen dead over these type of matters and therefore a person has to be very, very, careful about this.

Similarly, Rabbi Mendel Shafran warned against bribing public servants and wrote that “this prohibition includes the middlemen involved in taking or giving favors”; and thus he warned:

“For all office holders, to suppress their personal leanings and deal only with the good of the institution and the society to which they are entrusted. For example, the principal of a school who chooses a relative for a certain position, behold, he harms both the other candidates and also the students and parents, and the school itself as a school for the public since he is entrusted to act exclusively for the good of the institution”.

Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein on Gifts by the Pharmaceutical Companies

Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein[iii] was asked by Dr. Meshulam Hart whether a doctor who introduced a certain drug into use in a hospital may, after the fact, receive a gift that the pharmaceutical company wishes to give him because of it. After discussing the matter and clarifying that the gift to the doctor is not considered “agent fees” but rather is a ‘late bribe’ he wrote:

“In light of all this, even those in charge of the public should not take a late bribe, because the late will become an early bribe the next time, and since the doctor knows that after he approves the drugs and buys them, the company will send him a gift, it is fitting to be doubly,  very, very careful about this: on the one hand is the issue of bribery, and on the other hand being a doctor where every mistake borders on matters of life and death. It turns out that if he preferred a certain medicine because of the bias of the mind due to bribery, he violated the commandment to ensure public safety and sinned against the lives of people”.

What did Donald Trump do that by Jewish standards would be defined as a late bribe or maybe by Rabbi Feinstein’s definition an “outright bribe”?

A Washington-based human rights group is calling on the US government to investigate the business dealings between the Saudi Arabia-financed LIV Golf tour and former US President Donald Trump, who hosted a series of LIV golf tournaments at his resorts last year.

The demand for a probe into the business dealings comes after it was stated in a court hearing last week that the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns 93 percent of LIV and pays all of the costs associated with its events.

“The revelation that a fund controlled by Crown Prince MBS actually owns almost all of LIV Golf means that MBS has been paying Donald Trump unknown millions for the past two years, via their mutual corporate covers,” Sarah Leah Whitson, Dawn’s executive director, said in a statement.

National Security Emergency
Dawn raised further concerns about whether Trump had engaged in business deals with Saudi Arabia’s PIF while he was in office.

Congress has already been scrutinizing the business dealings of former Trump officials, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner who received a $2.5bn investment in his firm, Affinity Partners, from the Saudi government.

Source of this information:


[i] Igrote Moshe, Choshen Mishpat, section 2, chapter 26

[ii] Aruch Hashulchan, Choshen Mishpat 9,1

[iii] Shiurei Torah LaRofim , Section 1, chapter 14