On the morning of October 17, NBC News reporter Rich Schapiro awoke to an unusual voicemail — a three-minute-long butt dial from President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani discussing his foreign business dealings and his need for cash.
In an article for NBC News, Schapiro documented how Giuliani, who he communicates with semi-regularly, began the voicemail discussing someone named Charles with an unidentified other person, saying, "you know … Charles would have a hard time with a fraud case 'cause he didn't do any due diligence."
Then, Giuliani said, "let's get back to business … I gotta get you to get on Bahrain," apparently referring to his business dealings in the Middle Eastern nation.
After his tenure as mayor of New York City ended in 2001, Giuliani founded a security consulting company and did work in foreign countries, including Bahrain.
Then, Giuliani asked if someone named Robert was around. When the other person said that Robert was in Turkey, Giuliani responded, "the problem is we need some money," and, "we need a few hundred thousand."
While it wasn't clear from the voicemail alone, Schapiro guessed that Giuliani could have been referring to Robert Magnas, an attorney and registered foreign agent who lobbies on behalf of the Turkish government.
The October 17 incident wasn't the first time Giuliani — who has been known to pocket and butt-dial other reporters — had butt-dialed Schapiro.
—Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) March 25, 2019
Schapiro recounted how in late September at a relative's birthday party, when Giuliani also butt-dialed him, "amid his 3-year-old daughter's excitement, the reporter decided to let Giuliani's call go to his voicemail."
When Schapiro later listened to Giuliani's voicemail, Giuliani ranted for three minutes about being "the target of attacks" for his allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter have engaged in corrupt activity overseas.
"There's plenty more to come out," Giuliani said the voicemail, according to Schapiro. "He did the same thing in China. And he tried to do it in Kazakhstan and in Russia."
"It's a sad situation," Giuliani went on. "You know how they get? Biden has been been trading in on his public office since he was a senator."
Giuliani is Trump's personal lawyer and not a government official, but has found himself at the center of the complicated impeachment inquiry into the Trump administration.
The impeachment inquiry was kicked off with an explosive whistleblower complaint, which mentioned Giuliani 31 times and described him as a "central figure" in the administration's efforts to encourage Ukraine to investigate the Bidens for supposed corruption.
The whistleblower complaint said — and Giuliani has acknowledged — that Trump and State Department officials enlisted him as a type of non-state envoy to work with the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens, which included meeting with an aide to Zelensky, Andriy Yermak.
Giuliani and Trump have alleged, without evidence, that as vice president, Biden tried to help his son by calling for the firing of a prosecutor investigating Burisma, Viktor Shokin. Giuliani has defended himself by saying he only got involved because State Department officials asked him to.
But The Wall Street Journal and other outlets have reported that Shokin was accused of being soft on corruption and hampering investigations, including the one into Burisma — that in essence, Biden, and much of the international community, urged Shokin's ouster because he was ineffective.
In the late September voicemail, Schapiro said that Giuliani repeated the unsubstantiated allegations that the Bidens are corrupt and lamented that Hunter took advantage of his famous name to land lucrative
"His son altogether made somewhere between five and eight million," Giuliani claimed, without evidence. "A three million transaction was laundered, which is illegal."
"When he became vice president, the kid decided to go around the world and say, 'Hire me because I'm Joe Biden's son.' And most people wouldn't hire him because he had a drug problem," Giuliani said, referencing Hunter's struggles with substance abuse.
Now, Giuliani himself faces legal jeopardy for his back-channel campaign to influence Ukraine to open investigations.
Former prosecutors interviewed by Insider argued that Giuliani's collaboration with the Trump administration in pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens could violate the Logan Act, the Hobbs Act, or federal campaign-finance laws — and could even rise to the level of a bribery scheme if Trump were found to have leveraged military aid in exchange for investigations.
On October 14, the Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors in New York — the office Giuliani directed in the 1980s as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York — have seized Giuliani's bank and other business records in connection with the investigation and arrest of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
On Friday, Politico reported that federal prosecutors in Washington, DC in the Department of Justice's criminal justice have also "has taken an interest" in also investigating Giuliani's foreign activities.
Sonam Sheth contributed to this report.