Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The seemingly unintentional calls made to the NBC reporters occurred at two different times, one early this month during the mid-afternoon and a more recent call late at night earlier this week. (Photo: Screenshot/ABC News)

'The Problem Is We Need Some Money': Ridicule Follows After NBC Journalist Reports Rudy Giuliani Butt Dial

"I will not give it any credence," Giuliani responded when asked for comment on the contents of the voicemails.

Common Dreams staff

A pair of butt-dials by President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani set off a hilarious cascade of headlines and social media reactions on Friday after NBC News reporter Rich Schapiro recounted two voicemails discovered on his cell phone that included Giuliani apparently complaining about Joe and Hunter Biden, his need for cash, and the subject of Ukraine.

Among the things Giuliani can be clearly heard saying on the call is, "The problem is we need some money."

The seemingly unintentional calls made to Shapiro occurred at two different times, the first on Sept. 28 during the mid-afternoon and a more recent one on October 16 after Schapiro had gone to bed for the night. In both cases, Schapiro later learned that the missed calls were sent to his voicemail—which has a 3-minute limit—and each resulted in a recording of Giuliani speaking to other people while being unaware the portion of the conversation was being recorded.

In the more recent of the two calls, Schapiro reports,

Giuliani can be heard discussing overseas dealings and lamenting the need for cash, though it's difficult to discern the full context of the conversation.

The call appeared to be one of the most unfortunate of faux pas: what is known, in casual parlance, as a butt dial.

And it wasn't the first time it had happened.

"You know," Giuliani says at the start of the recording. "Charles would have a hard time with a fraud case 'cause he didn’t do any due diligence."

It wasn't clear who Charles is, or who may have been implicated in a fraud. In fact, much of the message’s first minute is difficult to comprehend, in part because the voice of the other man in the conversation is muffled and barely intelligible.

But then Giuliani says something that's crystal clear.

"Let's get back to business."

He goes on.

"I gotta get you to get on Bahrain."

Listen to the calls here.

"I will not give it any credence," Giuliani told Common Dreams when asked for comment on the contents of the voicemails.

Given the partial nature of what is heard in the voicemails, it is hard to believe that anything said would represent anything particularly damaging to Giuliani or his boss, the U.S. president. Still, the episode exemplifies the kind of oddity that has come to be associated with Giuliani even as Trump faces intensifying and serious legal scrutiny over his effort to get the Ukraine government to dig up dirt on one of his top 2020 Democratic rivals.

It was inevitable that the #ButtDialGate, or whatever name results from the voicemail scandal, generated a mid-afternoon onslaught of comic social media reactions—some funnier than others:

And the kicker goes to...

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Agrees to Resign

"It is good news for the country that Boris Johnson has resigned as prime minister. But it should have happened long ago," said Labour Leader Keir Starmer. "He was always unfit for office."

Jake Johnson ·

Fulton County Subpoenas of Trump Allies Offer Hope 'That Justice Will Ultimately Be Served'

"The coordinated attempts by former President Donald Trump and his associates to discount and ignore the will of Georgian voters during the 2020 election cannot be swept under the rug," said one activist.

Jessica Corbett ·

Russian Official Makes Nuclear Threat Over US Support for Ukraine War Crimes Probe

Another official responded to Western sanctions by suggesting that Russia could reclaim Alaska.

Brett Wilkins ·

Biden Denounced for Imposing New Sanctions as Iran Nuclear Talks Falter

One Middle East expert accused the U.S. administration of "continuing and embracing Trump's max pressure policy, while expecting a different result."

Brett Wilkins ·

Under 'Draconian Abortion Ban,' Woman in El Salvador Sentenced to 50 Years for Pregnancy Loss

Laws like El Salvador's are "now being replicated in states across the U.S.," noted one observer.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo