Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Manhunt for Killer of 5 People in Louisiana; A Look at Roger Stone's Long & Sordid Career; Far-Right Media Divided in Reaction to Trump Shutdown Deal Without Wall Funding; Twins Separated at Birth Find Each Other after Watching CNN's 'THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS"; Backlash over Hollywood's Portrayal of Real-Life Stories. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired January 26, 2019 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:05] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for staying with me.

Roger Stone, a free man today, but he will be back in court on Tuesday. That will be his arraignment on a list of charges that draws the clearest and darkest line yet between President Trump's campaign and a pile of stolen emails hacked by Russia and made public by WikiLeaks.

The man who calls himself a dirty trickster now indicted on charges he obstructed justice, lied to Congress and tampered with witnesses. This from Robert Mueller's special counsel's team that indicted Roger Stone.

After the July 22nd, 2016 released of stolen DNC emails by organization one or WikiLeaks, a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information organization one had against the Clinton campaign.

Roger Stone ever to find yesterday, walking out of a Florida courthouse into a crowd chanting lock him up. He told reporters there that he would never quote "bare false witness against President Trump."

CNN's Chris Cuomo pressed him about that last night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You say you will not testify against the President. You would not bare false witness. I think that's an interesting phrase. But you are open to telling the truth. And is there any chance that the truth you have to tell can compromise other people who were a part of the campaign?

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: WELL, Certainly not the President. I have just no information - you know, I have to know what the circumstances would be, but it's highly unlikely. First all, this idea that I was in regular contact with the campaign after Paul Manafort left is not true. Frankly, he didn't have a high regard for many of the people working there. The people in the grassroots, yes, but the people in Washington, many of them had no idea what they were doing. And they are not close associates of mine. So this idea that I was trying to curry favor with him, I have no reason to do so.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Our crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz joins us now.

Shimon, Stone is either denying or taking issue with practically every line in that 20-plus page indictment.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: No, he certainly is. And look, he has taken to the airwaves. He is not hiding right now. And as you said, he is a free man. And you know, you don't normally hear people who have been charged with crimes go out there and speak as much as he is speaking. But that may come to an end once he appears for his arraignment. The judge that he is going before is known for issuing gag order. So these next few days and may be the last few days we hear from Roger Stone.

And of course, so many questions to him. You know, certainly, our Chris Cuomo asking him important questions, good questions. And then, of course, what's probably on a lot of people's minds is, what exactly is the game plan here for Roger Stone? And the question of whether or not he expects some kind of pardon here from the President, and here's what he told Chris Cuomo about that last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: It makes me think you must believe there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Do you believe that light is not the train, but that is the President and he will pardon you for keeping your mouth shut?

STONE: I have never had any discussion with him or communication with him regarding that. I have no idea what he might do. The only persons that I have recommended a pardon for is I wrote a number of op-eds as to why I think Julian Assange should be pardoned because I believe he is a journalist who does the same thing "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" do. And I have come out very strongly and written the President for a pardon posthumously for Marcus Garvey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PROKUPECZ: You know, it is, Ana, interesting to see him essentially defending Julian Assange there. Obviously, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, really at the center of a lot of the information that has contained in this indictment. It's interesting to hear what he has to say about that, and practically, when you listen to him there, he is defending Julian Assange.

CABRERA: And yet he claim he never directly spoke or had direct contact with Julian Assange.

Shimon Prokupecz, thank you for your ongoing reporting this. I want to bring in Democratic congressman Debbi Wasserman Shultz who

was the head of the DNC when WikiLeaks published thousands of private emails related to the 2016 campaign.

Congresswoman, thanks for being with us.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Thanks for having me, Ana.

CABRERA: You ultimately resigned from the DNC because of the revelation in those emails. What is your reaction to these allegation and the indictment that a top Trump campaign official was directed to contact Roger Stone to get more information from WikiLeaks about these hacked emails?

SCHULTZ: Well, Ana, we have known for a long time now that it was very clear what the trump campaign's intention was. They have had -- they are just -- they were infected with contact with Russia. They have had six or seven indicted or people -- indicted officials or people associated with them who pleaded guilty. All of whom were involved with contact with Russia somehow. And in this case, with Roger Stone. He literally weaponized information stolen by Vladimir Putin to help elect Donald Trump President.

He worked with high level campaign officials from the Trump campaign who were directed by someone even higher, essentially to make sure that they could traffic in information stolen by a foreign enemy state to elect the candidate that he supported, President of the United States. And it was a disgusting and traitorous act, and it needs to be prosecuted.

As a member of the government, the House oversight reform committee, I'm going to be working with the chairman Elijah Cummings to make sure that we can continue to fight to get the American people answers including to make sure that we can protect the Mueller investigation to its conclusion.

[16:05:59] CABRERA: I want to ask you about that specifically in just a second. But just to go back over a couple things you mentioned there.

Thirty seven people or entities have been charged by Robert Mueller's special counsel team. Six of them who have been indicted are associates, direct associates of the President or knew him before he was President. And 199 criminal charges have been brought so far.

I want to go over some of the time line here now that is spelled out in this indictment. You know, June, July of 2016, Stone allegedly informed Trump campaign officials that WikiLeaks had the documents damaging to Clinton. .

And then it was July 22nd, WikiLeaks released that first batch of stolen emails.

After that, prosecutors say a senior Trump campaign official was directed by someone to contact Stone about additional releases. And then on July 24th, the President's son Don Jr. denies Russia is

behind the hack and release of DNC emails. Here's that moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Robbie Mook, the campaign manager for secretary of state Hillary Clinton, I asked him about the DNC leak, and he suggested that experts are saying that Russians were behind both the leak, the hacking of the DNC emails and their release. He seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.

DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: It goes to show you their exact moral campus. I mean, they will say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again. Lie after lie. I can't think of bigger lies. But that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do. They will lie and do anything to win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: He slammed your DNC, calling you a bunch of liars who would do anything to win. Do you feel vindicated?

SCHULTZ: You know what, I feel vindicated on behalf of the American people who were the victims here, when it comes to Donald Trump, his campaign, his campaign leadership team, and particularly Roger Stone in this instance who knew in June, because the Democratic National Committee, we announced that we had been -- that we have had our information stolen by Russia prior to Roger Stone weaponizing the information that Russia stole in order to make sure that they could help elect Donald Trump President.

That all of the arrows point to the thing that -- the conclusion that any elementary school child could reach. And that is, that Russia stole information, colluded with the Donald Trump campaign in order to help elect Donald Trump President. And the investigation that Mueller is doing, is getting closer and closer, to the highest level here. And at the end of the day, both Congress, through the oversight reform committee, through Chairman Cummings myself and my colleagues as well as the Mueller investigation, are going to get to the bottom of this one way or the other. And Roger Stone can pound his chest and use false bravado all he wants. You know, one of the other things he loves to say is that the only thing worse than negative attention is no attention at all. Well, when he is in prison, we are going to see how much attention he is going to get. He will be pretty depressed after that, I'm sure.

CABRERA: We are showing the images of him walking out of the courthouse yesterday posturing that victory. I want you to hear what White House press secretary Sara Sanders had to say right after Stone's indictment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger Stone the President's longtime political adviser placed under arrest. What's your reaction?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look. My first reaction is real simple. This has nothing to do with the President, and certainly nothing to do with the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: She says this has nothing to do with the President. And he is not personally named in these indictments. Do you agree this has nothing to do with that?

SCHULTZ: No, of course not. I think Sara Sanders is both clueless and a liar, and so that's the job description she signed up for, and she willingly peddles in completely false information and will do anything to help her boss hold on to power. And her boss was willing to do anything to gain the power he has now including collude with Russia to be able to use stolen information to elect him President. And you know what? The cinch is getting tighter and tighter.

[16:10:22] CABRERA: Do you --

SCHULTZ: We are going to reach the logical conclusion of this, and heads are going to continue to roll.

CABRERA: While I have you, I have to ask you about where we're headed with the government shutdown. Because the President obviously announced this deal to fund the government for the next three weeks, that deal it doesn't include any money for his border wall at this point. The President is not giving up on that, let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So let me be very clear. We really have no choice, but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier. If we don't get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15th again. Or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the constitution of the United States to address this emergency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Give me the over/under on whether we'll be back in a shutdown again in three weeks.

SCHULTZ: Well, That was the analogy I was going to use too. I wouldn't take major odds in Las Vegas betting on President Trump's prediction. I chair the appropriation subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs, and that's where a large chunk of that money he would be stealing, to declare this false emergency for -- to build a wall that I think everyone knows by now is never going to get built. And that we need to work together over the next three weeks to come together in a bipartisan way, which is what we should have done 35 days ago, when the original deal that pass passed yesterday was on the table so we can use a combination of focusing on comprehensive border security using technology, 21st century technology instead of a 7th century solution which is Donald Trump's proposed wall. And that's what I think, the cooler heads that are going to come together as appropriators on the (INAUDIBLE). And we will send that to the President. And if he doesn't sign it, then he will shut the government down once again and he will cause 800,000 people to suffer all over again.

They still have not been paid. That might not happen until later this week. And he has caused major pain all in the name of building an edifice that wouldn't solve the problems he says it says in the first place.

CABRERA: I spoke to a TSA worker who was told today. He says that he will get his paycheck on Thursday. Still several days before that comes.

Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, thank you for being with us.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, the President caved big time, 35 days of a government shutdown with absolutely nothing achieved except a whole lot of pain. We will be back at square one in just three weeks. That's the question.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[16:17:14] TRUMP: We have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government. I want to thank all of the incredible federal workers and their amazing families who have shown such extraordinary devotion in the face of this recent hard ship. Many of you have suffered far greater than anyone but your families would know or understand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: That hardship the President is acknowledging there, all because he refused to back down on funding for his border wall. And yet, the deal President Trump announced yesterday to reopen the government doesn't include a penny for that wall. One Trump adviser saying, this is a humiliating loss for a man who rarely loses. And that sentiment echoed in various reactions to the President's announcement from the New York Daily News two words, cave man.

Along with this cartoon, depicting Pelosi walking over to Trump while he touts a compromise.

And this from conservative pundit, Ann Coulter, who says, well, some say spurred the President to begin this shutdown. She writes, good news for George Herbert Walker Bush as of today. He is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.

Let's discuss with Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush and Jennifer Granholm, former Democratic governor of Michigan.

Good to see both of you.

Scott, did anything positive politically come out of this for the President?

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, no. Nothing positive has happened here. And in three weeks, he is going to have to make a decision about what posture to take. My belief is, is that he will not shut the government down again. But he is unlikely to get any wall concessions in three weeks, because he didn't get any this time around. Which really only leaves the national emergency option, which then I assume would be stuck in court for some period of time.

So, no, I don't think anything politically good has come of this. The only thing you can't get more of in politics is time. And we have lost a month of time in this presidency at a critical period.

CABRERA: We lost time and the nation lost a lot of money as well.

Governor aides to President Trump though are arguing that reopening the government should eliminate at least the justification most Democrats have given for refusing to negotiate on the wall funding or immigration. Does this force Democrats to negotiate?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Well, Democrats have been willing to negotiate, but they weren't going to negotiate when the government was shut down. So yes, Democrats are eager to negotiate.

And Scott, I'm kind of curious about your thought about this. Because when you are in a negotiation, and you have two sides that completely will not move, you have to move to a higher level. You have to say what's the purpose, for example, of the wall? Well, the purpose is, border security. Do you think that there is a negotiation around border security that might avoid the President calling for a national emergency? That's the spot I am asking.

JENNINGS: Well, I think the President wants barriers. Yes, I think the President wants barriers and he's called it a wall. He wants barriers. He has moved off the desire for a concrete wall. And now he wants steal barriers. Some Democrats have supported steel barriers in the past. So I think if the negotiation acknowledges that there is widespread support for barriers in some places even if there is still slash like we presently have, I absolutely think there could be a deal on some kind of border security.

Now what I worry about is, are there enough Democrats that want to give the President a win on anything to have that conversation? I hope there are beucase our own border patrol, the people who take care of the border right now, say that more barriers would be helpful.

[16:20:44] CABRERA: That's a fair question. So I wonder, governor, though, if this is an opportunity for the Democrats to try to go big saying, we will give you even more money than that $5 billion you want for border security. We will throw in ten more billion that includes some barriers that includes technology, that includes other innovation along parts of the border that not currently staffed. Not at ports of entry. That includes more immigration judges. That includes more border patrol personnel. All things I've heard the Democrats mention, they may be willing to give, if the President gives something else. Something big that the Democrats haven't been able to obtain so far like a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

GRANHOLM: Right. No, I think Democrats would totally be willing to have a conversation as long as they weren't funding, as they say, a wall from sea to shining sea. There is not - if the Republicans are willing to define more broadly, define as border security in looking at electronic, technology and monitoring, et cetera, I think that that conversation can totally be had.

But I do thing that Scott is right on this. The President cannot shut down the government of it again and put 800,000 people in terror one more time. If he does that, he is a complete and total idiot. He will not have learned his lesson. I can't believe that he would do that.

So then the question is on this national emergency if they can't get to yes on defining broader border security more broadly, what does that mean? It would be tied up in the courts. But it also, you are going to have a lot of Republicans who are very upset about the notion of saying President Kamala Harris declaring that gun violence is an emergency and the need to confiscate assault rifles or something like that. You could define national emergency for climate change or for other things that Democrats would want to fear or Democratic president.

I think that Republicans would be nervous about going in that direction as well. So I think the only solution really here is for people to understand that the issue is not a wall that's either brick and mortar, it is border security. And that, if people can come to an agreement on that, I think you can get there. And if you threw in some additional thing like DACA or temporary protected status individuals, then I think, you know, you could get to yes.

CABRERA: So just to kind of hone in on that, just a moment here, governor. What should the Democrats be asking for? How big should they in trying to make a deal some of kind of deal if they do have all this leverage you speak of?

GRANHOLM: Well, I do think that three weeks is not a long enough time probably for them to resolve the overall immigration issue. And I think the President would get huge push back for those that are already railing at him.

What I would like to see is for Republicans to give the President. Republicans on the far right, the Ann Coulters, the Rush Limbaughs, to give him some room to negotiate border security. And Democrats would be happy to have that conversation. But I also think that here's what Democrats would like to see, is the mark warner bill that's basically saying if we will not shut down government again. I think it's like the stupidity act is what it is called.

CABRERA: Yes. GRANHOLM: If you shut - you cannot shutdown government, it has - if

you get to a funding impasse, then you have what is known as a continuing resolution that keeps government funded. Here's who don't get paid, the lawmakers and the President. That to me is a smart solution.

CABRERA: Scott, I want to get you in here. And I'm wondering what Republicans should prioritize in your mind in these next three weeks of negotiating. Is it the wall?

JENNINGS: Well, the Republicans should prioritize border security because we do have a problem on the border. Whether you think it's a crisis or just a problem or just a nuisance, there is something going on in the border that needs to be taken care of.

So as a governing matter, I would like to see the President and the Republicans get something here that acknowledges the problem and helps slow down the crisis. I think it's a crisis of people coming across a border where it's porous, where the fences are down, we don't have enough people to guard the border.

So prioritizing that as a governing matter to me is viral. And I also think allowing the President to come out on the other side of this with some kind of explanation. It says look, the Democrats now have leverage here. That means I can't do what I want, but I'm going to do all that I can.

That's a reasonable political explanation when you have divided government. What you don't want to have coming out on the other side of this is a complete and total loss where you get nothing on border security. I certainly hope that's not the case. It's not just a political loser, but I think it's a policy loser for America.

[16:25:14] CABRERA: All right. Scott Jennings, Governor Jennifer Granholm, thank you both.

We have some breaking news out of Louisiana, five people are dead and the hunt is on for the suspected gunman. A live update next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:29:50] CABRERA: Breaking news out of Louisiana, where a massive manhunt is now underway for a suspect believed to have killed five people.

Let's get right to Kaylee Hartung following this for us.

What do we know about the suspect, Kaylee?

[16:30:01] KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Ana. This is all unfolding in southeast Louisiana, not far from Baton Rouge. His morning, Elizabeth and Keith Terio (ph) were killed in Ascension parish, a not long after three members of the Ernest family were killed in neighboring Livingston parish.

But this morning, before the Terios (ph) both family passed away from their gunshot wounds, they were able to identify their 21-year-old son, Dakota Terio (ph) to authorities as the man who shot them.

Now, authorities say that they believe Dakota Terio (ph) who you see here has left the area. Of these five murders, they say he is believed to be headed east toward Mississippi. Police have been sharing these photos of the young man, but also a photo of the vehicle that they believe him to be traveling in.

This is a 2004 dodge pickup truck. It is gray on the top, silver on the bottom, a four-door pickup truck. As you can see there, the license plate when we zoom in, c583809, a Louisiana license plate.

With this manhunt underway for five murders, all to have taken place this morning. The Ascension parish sheriff issued this warning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF BOBBY WEBRE, ASCENSION PARISH SHERIFF: There's no reason for us to believe that there's anybody else who was a target other than I will say that he is an armed and dangerous guy, so anybody he comes in contact with could be a target.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: So this is believed to be an isolated incident, Ana. The sheriff there calling this a domestic violence incident. But he says it is among the worst domestic violence cases they have ever come across.

CABRERA: Awful. Kaylee Hartung, thank you.

He has been called the cockroach of American politics. A self- described dirty trickster with an image of Nixon tattooed on his back. A look at Roger Stone's downright shady past next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:35:55] CABRERA: He cut his teeth during Watergate. He has an image of Richard Nixon tattooed on his back. And was once fired for having swinger fever.

CNN's Jake Tapper takes a look back at Roger Stone's long and sordid career.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STONE: I'm Roger Stone. R-O-G-E-R-S-T-O-N-E.

TAPPER (voice-over): He has been called a dirty trickster, the prince of darkness, even the cockroach of American politics by the left leaning new republic. And Roger Stone flaunts many of these monackers as proudly as he flaunts his Nixon back tattoo.

STONE: I'm an agent provocateur.

TAPPER: Stone's reputation is hard earned. His notorious political rap sheet goes back to the Nixon campaign, when the then 19-year-old donated money to Nixon's opponent. He said it was from the young socialist alliance and gave the receipt to the press. It didn't get any more ethical from there.

In 1980, Stone began a lobbying firm with Paul Manafort that unapologetically catered to human rights abusers. Stone once posted they quote "lined up most of the dictators in the world that we could find, pro-western dictators, of course, the good ones.

Nevertheless the questionable consultant's resume is filled with work for Republican stars. Nixon, Reagan, Bush senior and, of course --

STONE: I'm a political adviser to Donald Trump.

TAPPER: While working for Bob Dole, Stone's personal life caused a public stir, he was forced to resign from Dole's Presidential campaign after a tabloid revealed he and his wife placed an ad for a sex partner in a paper called "Local Swing fever." But Stone did not go away, he continued to stir the political pot. In 1999, he helped Donald Trump navigate his first short lived campaign for the presidency.

STONE: I have to give my best advice, but Mr. Trump makes the decisions. And frankly, the polls so far kind of reflect that the voters like it.

TAPPER: A year later in 2000, Stone took credit for disrupting the Florida recount by organizing a Republican riot at the Miami-Dade elections office. All the while, Stone list of dirty tricks and black ops continue to grow took credit for the downfall of Eliot Spitzer, saying he found out about Spitzer's penchant for prostitutes from a sex worker he met at a Miami swinger's club.

STONE: Welcome to the Stone zone.

TAPPER: Through his online channel, the Stone zone, and national TV appearance, Stone has for years peddled countless deranged conspiracy theories.

STONE: I am not a conspiracy theorist. I'm a conspiracy realist.

TAPPER: And through all of this, there has been a mainstay, his longtime friend Donald Trump, who reportedly continued confiding in Stone even after firing him from his campaign in 2015. Stone claims he quit.

STONE: We go back a very long time. I have -- Donald Trump came to my wedding, I went to two of his. I was at both his parents' funerals. I have great affection for Trump and the Trump family.

TAPPER: So what advice might the President have received? One passage from Stone's book of life lessons stands out. Quote "admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack."

Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CABRERA: With me now, CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter.

OK. We have some more insight into Roger Stone's thinking and a comment he made himself right on the courthouse steps following his appearance yesterday, watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: As I have always said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The only thing worse about being talked about is not being talked about.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That sounds like Roger Stone.

CABRERA: He got his wish obviously. In part, because he is doing a lot of talking even after this indictment giving interviews to CNN and FOX. He loves the media circus. What do you think is the strategy here, Brian?

STELTER: Yes. He even called into the info wars, that conspiratorial Web site when he was still at the courthouse. I think his strategy which he has had months to plan because he knew this day was coming, probably coming. He is to try to talk his way out of this. I don't think that's going to work. But it seems to be his approach so far. At least until a judge tells him to shut up. But for now, he can try to talk his way out of it.

But I think there's actually a more specific strategic reason why he is doing these interviews. He is trying to raise money. He says he needs $2 million (INAUDIBLE). He is trying to portray all of this as a witch hunt and raise money in order to defend himself.

You know, what he -- Jake Tapper mentioned one of Stone's rules. Another rule is attack, attack, attack, and never defend. So that is what Stone is trying to do. It is definitely President Trump also does. Stone is trying to attack Mueller, attack this process, claim it's illegitimate, and that's I think going to continue to be his strategy. But we know that the majority of the public supports what Mueller's trying to do, supports the justice system. So I know that Stone will be able to reach his fervent supporters. But I don't think he is going to persuade others to his side.

[16:40:49] CABRERA: So some people have question, how was it that CNN was there when he was arrested.

STELTER: Right.

CABRERA: And it was just good old fashioned journalism, right?

STELTER: There's been this conspiracy theory building on sites like info wars for the past day that somehow we were tipped off by Robert Mueller's team so we knew to be there. That is nonsense. If you know anything about Mueller's probe, we know he doesn't leak journalists. We wish he did, but this probe has not been leaky. Really, this was the result of journalists having a good sense of what was going on inside the investigation, by following clues, by noticing who was coming and going on certain days at the courthouse, by noticing what was on the agenda on certain days.

All these public bread crumbs basically led our team to the home in Ft. Lauderdale. I think it was valuable though to see it for ourselves because it was a very intense reign. Viewers can decide for themselves and if it's appropriate to have the FBI roll up so aggressively. Clearly, there were reasons to do that. They have not treated other individuals the way they treated Stone yesterday. They must be concerned about Stone trying to remove evidence, destroy evidence, et cetera. So apparently, they have reason for doing it. But yes, the ability to see it in action, to have the video, I think was really valuable.

CABRERA: It was a little bit of just luck, is part of what our team on the ground said.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: Well, it's possible that this could happen today. Let's check it out.

STELTER: Yes.

CABRERA: Let's talk about the shutdown, which is over, thank goodness. But the reaction from the deal, at least in far right media seems to be a bit divided.

STELTER: Yes.

CABRERA: From the gateway pundit, take a look at this. Trump caves. Ends shutdown with no border wall. Pelosi's second big win this week. Video of Pelosi dancing. And then, you also have pundits like Sebastian Gorka saying, this on FOX.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOU DOBBS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This President said it was going to be conditional. Border security, building that wall, and he just reversed himself. That's a victory for Nancy Pelosi. It will be perceived as such.

SEBASTIAN GORKA, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It may be perceived as such. But Lou, remember, this is for three weeks. As far as I'm concerned, this is a master stroke.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Master's stroke.

CABRERA: Who do you think the President listens to more? STELTER: I think the President is wanting to embrace Sebastian

Gorka's point of view. There have been some others on FOX kind form trying to support him through this. But we know the President watches so much cable news. He is hearing a lot of the criticism. The Ann Coulters of the world calling him a wimp. Lou Dobbs is one of his strongest supporters in America, and Lou Dobbs says that he got rolled by Nancy Pelosi.

So it is remarkable. I think in some ways, this is the strongest test yet of President Trump's reality distortion field. His ability to make up his own reality. There is a lot of these normally pro-Trump pundits have broken with him.

The one defense they are offering, the one sort of pro-Trump argument now is, well, he has got three weeks, let's see what happens, in three weeks, he will shut down the government again if he doesn't get what he wants.

You know, that's a test. We will see. We all meet back here in three weeks and see what happens. As you have been discussing, I wonder if Trump is just trying to stall a little bit here, you know. Hope people have short term memory and they forget the roots from now that he was supposed to come back and get money for the wall. But a lot of these conservative commentators are very angry with him this weekend.

CABRERA: Well, he is trying to reassure them, don't worry. The wall is coming no matter. I will declare a state of emergency or national emergency potentially if the Dems don't come my way.

The President's state of the union, however, was supposed to be the 29th. It was then put on hold. And it remains on hold. What does President Trump lose by not having that bully pulpit?

STELTER: What he loses is about 50 million viewers. The state of the union is usually his most watched speech of the year. The single time of the year that, you know, it's not just political junkies who are going to watch on cable news, it's also going to be people that were turning into watch this is us on NBC. So by losing the state of the union for now, he is losing that opportunity to speak to a broad cross section of the country. I don't think the SOTU is the biggest thing in the world, but it is an opportunity for him. I'm sure he wants to get it rescheduled pretty soon.

The other big opportunity is the super bowl. This time next week, the super bowl. For the last 10 years, presidents have usually given big super bowl interviews.

CABRERA: That's right.

STELTER: But so far President Trump has not committed. So I will see if he is actually going to doing the interview or not.

CABRERA: All right. Brian Stelter, good to have you. Thank you very much.

STELTER: Thanks. CABRERA: As always, be sure to catch Brian on his show, "RELIABLE

SOURCES" tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. eastern.

They were separated at birth and wouldn't meet again for more than 50 years. Coming up, an incredible story of twin sisters who found each other after watching a CNN film.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:49:37] CABRERA: You have probably seen the promos, this is an incredible story. The new CNN film, three identical strangers explores an astounding true story about triplet who were separated at birth and then by coincidence reunite 19 years later. Since that film made, more twins separated at birth have now found each other. And our Dr. Sanjay Gupta has one of those who caught up the stories.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[16:50:00] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This 54-year-old Michele Mordkoff is about to meet someone she didn't even know existed. Her twin sister, Alison Kantor.

Before she caulks in here, sort of just wrapped up in your own thoughts.

What are you thinking?

MICHELE MORDKOFF, REUNITED WITH TWIN SISTER: I almost feel like I could open my eyes and wake and it wasn't a real day. Like I really felt like it was a dream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.

GUPTA: You didn't know, obviously, that you had a twin. Your parents, your adopted parents didn't know you had a twin?

MORDKOFF: Not at all. They are just as shocked as we are.

GUPTA: Separated at birth, there's is a story that makes you ask questions about nature versus nurture. Free will, could you have a twin unite there?

ALLISON KANTER, REUNITED WITH TWIN SISTER: I never thought there would be somebody like Michelle out there. I was caught by surprise. I mean, the rug was pulled out from under me.

GUPTA: Michele and Allison were both May 12th, 1964. When they were five months old, they were adopted by different families two days a- part.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His eyes, my eyes and my eyes, his eyes and it is true.

GUPTA: By coincidence, last year Michelle saw the CNN film three identical strangers. It's about triplets who were separated by prominent Jewish New York City adoption agency, Louise Wise Services. The same agency through Michele and Allison were adopted. It made Michele wonder, could the same thing had happened to her.

Last summer, Michele took a DNA test, the results life changing. It revealed an immediate family member she did not know she had.

MORDKOFF: Who would you like to add? I'm adding a sister. Very symbolic.

GUPTA: We don't know why Michelle and Allison were separated. But in the case of the three identical strangers, it was for the perfect of a scientific study by Dr. Peter Neubauer (ph) who had approached other agencies before finding Louise Wise.

MORDKOFF: When Neubauer was trying to find twins to study, he went to a Catholic Church agency. The nun said to him, we don't separate what God puts together.

GUPTA: Neubauer died in 2008 and Louise Wise Services closed in 2004. The agency that absorbed all of its records, Spence Chapin, did not respond to CNN's multiple requests for comment.

It is funny, I notice the way you guys hold your hands. I don't know if you do notice, and the way your legs are crossed?

MORDKOFF: We are noticing everything right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: Well, Ana, as I said in the piece there, this makes you ask questions about nature or nurture. And Michelle and Allison 54 years apart, they finally find each other, and you watch them, the way that they carry themselves, the way they hold their bodies, the way they speak, the way they dress, all of that so similar and it really makes you wonder how much of a role does nature play?

Now, if you ask experts, they will give you some variation of the answer that it's 50/50. Nature, nurture, 50-50. And also, it's starting to change, because we know now more than ever that your genes, your blueprint can change in response to how you interact with your environment. Epigenetics it is called. So it's not necessarily nature or nurture. It's more nature and nurture. And I think Michelle and Allison really make that case -- Ana.

CABRERA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, great story. Thank you for sharing with us.

And be sure to tune in, the award winning CNN original film three identical strangers premieres right here on CNN at 9:00 p.m. eastern. You don't want to miss it.

OK. Based on a true story, here we go again. This year's nominees at the SAG awards draw inspiration from real life people and events, but not without some backlash.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:58:02] CABRERA: When the people are real, iconic and socially impactful, audiences respond and Hollywood knows it. So many of the films nominated for the SAG awards this year are based on true stories.

But as Stephanie Elam reports, these portrayals aren't without some controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Of the SAG film nominees, roughly half involved characters based on real life. And telling those stories can prove tricky in today's polarizing world.

ADAM MCKAY, DIRECTOR, VICE: We live in a time nowadays where contemporary history is kind of up for debate. There is a lot of different versions of it that people are arguing about.

ELAM: No more is that playing out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a very narrow assessment of me, Tom.

ELAM: Than with green book, about the late Don Shirley, a black classical pianist who hired a white bouncer to drive him in the Deep South.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I prefer not to get grease on my blanket.

ELAM: Shirley's family claims they were never contacted and that details were embellished to favor the driver (INAUDIBLE). His son told variety, he co-wrote the film with Shirley's blessing.

NICK VALLELONGA, CO-WRITER, GREEN BOOK: He said no one else was there but your father and I. We told you. And he approved what I put in and didn't put in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Interesting issues in working for a black men.

ELAM: So far, the controversy hasn't hurt (INAUDIBLE) Ali who won a Golden Globe and is nominated for SAG award.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can handle the more -- made headlines when star Christian Bale joked that Satan inspired him to play former vice President Dick Cheney.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R), WYOMING: Christian bale finally had a chance to play a real superhero, and he screwed it up.

ELAM: Cheney's daughter Liz slammed Bale. But ironically, Bale championed a monologue in the film considered redeeming for Cheney.

CHRISTIAN BALE, ACTOR, VICE: I made every efforts advocate for Cheney because there's no interest on Adam's part or mine and just doing (INAUDIBLE) job.

ELAM: Real life, almost always stranger than fiction.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood. (END VIDEOTAPE)

[16:30:00] CABRERA: Let's get right to our Kaylee Hartung following this for us.

What do we know about this suspect, Kaylee?

HARTUNG: Ana, this is all unfolding in southeast Louisiana, not far from Baton Rouge. This morning, Elizabeth and Keith Theriot were killed in Ascension Parish not long after three members of the Ernest family were killed in Livingston Parish. This morning, before the Theriots both passed away from their gunshot wounds, they were able to identify their 21-year-old son, Dakota Theriot, to authorities as the man who shot them.

Authorities say they believe Dakota Theriot, who you see here, has left the area of these five murders. They say he's believed to be headed east toward Mississippi. Police have been sharing these photos of the young man, but also a photo of the vehicle that they believe him to be traveling in. This is a 2004 Dodge pickup truck, gray on the top, silver on the bottom, a four-door pickup truck. As you can see there, the license plate, when we zoom in, C583809, a Louisiana license plate.

With this manhunt underway for five murders, all to have taken place this morning, the Ascension Parish sheriff issued this warning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOBBY WEBRE, SHERIFF, ASCENSION PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE: There's no reason for us to believe that there's anybody else who was a target. Other than I will say that he is an armed and dangerous guy, so anybody he comes in contact with could be a target.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: This is believed to be an isolated incident, Ana. The sheriff calling this a domestic violence incident. But he says it is among the worst domestic violence cases they've ever come across.

CABRERA: Awful.

Kaylee Hartung, thank you.

He's been called the cockroach of American politics, a self-described dirty trickster with an image of Nixon tattooed on his back. A look at Roger Stone's downright shady past, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:35:55] CABRERA: He cut his teeth during Watergate. He has an image of Richard Nixon tattooed on his back. And was once fired for having swinger fever.

CNN's Jake Tapper takes a look back at Roger Stone's long and sordid career. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROGER STONE, LONGTIME ASSOCIATE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: I'm Roger Stone, R-O-G-E-R S-T-O-N-E.

TAPPER,(voice-over): He's been called a dirty trickster, the Prince of Darkness, even the cockroach of American politics by the left- leaning "New Republic." And Roger Stone flaunts many of these monikers as proudly as he flaunts his Nixon back tattoo.

STONE: I'm an agent provocateur.

TAPPER: Stone's reputation is hard earned. His notorious political rap sheet goes back to the Nixon campaign, when the then 19-year-old donated money to Nixon's opponent. He said it was from the Young Socialist Alliance, and gave the receipt to the press. It didn't get any more ethical from there.

In 1980, Stone began a lobbying firm with Paul Manafort that unapologetically catered to human rights abusers. Stone once boasted they, quote, "Lined up most of the dictators in the world that we could find. Pro-western dictators, of course, the good ones."

Nevertheless, the questionable consultant's resume is filled with work for Republican stars, Nixon, Reagan, Bush senior and, of course --

STONE: I'm a political adviser to Donald Trump.

TAPPER: While working for Bob Dole, Stone's personal life caused a public stir. He was forced to resign from Dole's presidential campaign after a tabloid revealed he and his wife placed an ad for a sex partner in a paper called "Local Swing Fever."

But Stone did not go away. He continued to stir the political pot.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (INAUDIBLE)

TAPPER: In 1999, Stone helped Donald Trump navigate his first short- lived campaign for the presidency.

STONE: I have to give my best advice, but Mr. Trump makes the decisions. Frankly, the polls kind of reflect that the voters like it.

TAPPER: A year later, in 2000, Stone took credit for disrupting the Florida recount by organizing a Republican riot at the Miami-Dade elections office.

All the while, the Stone list of dirty drinks and black ops continued to grow.

Stone took credit for the downfall of then New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, saying he found out about Spitzer's penchant for prostitutes from a sex worker he met at a Miami swinger's club.

STONE: Welcome to the Stone Zone. TAPPER: Through his online channel, the Stone Zone, and his national TV appearances, Stone has for years peddled countless deranged conspiracy theory.

STONE: I am not a conspiracy theorist. I'm a conspiracy realist.

TAPPER: Through all of this, there has been a mainstay, his longtime friend, Donald Trump, who reportedly continued confiding in Stone even after firing him from his campaign in 2015. Stone claims he quit.

STONE: We go back a very long time. I have -- Donald Trump came to my wedding. I went to two of his. I was at both his parents' funerals. I have great affection for Trump and the Trump family.

TAPPER: So what advice might the president have received? One passage from Stone's book of life lessons stands out, quote, "Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack."

Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: With me now, CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "REALIBLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter.

We have some more insight into Roger Stone's thinking in a comment he made himself right on the courthouse steps following his appearance yesterday. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: As I have always said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The only thing worse about being talked about is not being talked about.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": That sounds like Roger Stone.

CABRERA: He got his wish obviously. In part, because he's doing a lot of talking. Even after this indictment, giving interviews to CNN and FOX. He loves the media circus. What do you think is the strategy here, Brian?

STELTER: He called into "Info Wars," that conspiratorial Web site, when he was still at the courthouse. I think his strategy, that he had months to plan, because he knew this day was probably coming, is to try to talk his way out of this. I don't think that's going to work. But it seems to be his approach so far. At least until a judge tells him to shut up. He can try to talk his way out of it.

[16:40:09] There's a more specific strategic reason he's doing interviews. He needs money. He says he needs $1 million for a legal defense fund. He's trying to portray all of this as a witch hunt and raise money in order to defend himself.

What he -- Jake Tapper mentioned one of Stone's rules, attack, attack, attack, and never defend.

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: It's what Stone's trying to do. That's what President Trump also does. Stone is trying to attack Mueller, attack this process, claim it's illegitimate. And that's going to continue to be his strategy. We know that the majority of the public supports what Mueller's trying to do, supports the justice system. So I know that Stone will be able to reach his fervent supporters, but I don't think he's going to persuade others to his side.

CABRERA: Some have questioned, how was it that CNN was there when he was arrested?

STELTER: Right.

CABRERA: And it was just good old-fashioned journalism, right?

STELTER: There's been a conspiracy theory building on sites like "Info Wars" for the past day that somehow we were tipped off by Robert Mueller's team so we knew to be there. That is nonsense. If you know anything about Mueller's probe, we know he doesn't leak journalists. We wish he did. This probe has not been leaky.

Really, this was the result of journalists having a good sense of what was going on inside the investigation by following clues, by noticing who was coming and going on certain days at the courthouse, by noticing what was on the agenda on certain days. All these public bread crumbs basically led our team to the home in Ft. Lauderdale. I think it was valuable to get to see it for ourselves. It was an intense raid. Viewers can decide for themselves if it's appropriate to have the FBI roll up so aggressively. Clearly, there were reasons to do that. They have not treated other individuals the way they treated Stone yesterday. They must be concerned about Stone trying to remove evidence, destroy evidence, et cetera. So apparently they had reasons for doing it. But the ability to see it in action, to have the video, was valuable.

CABRERA: It was a little bit of luck, is part of what our team on the ground said.

STELTER: Yes. It was essentially a hunch, basically.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: You're thinking, well, it's possible this could happen today. Let's check it out.

STELTER: Yes.

CABRERA: Let's talk about the shutdown, which is over, thank goodness. The reaction from the deal, at least in far-right media seems to be divided. From the "Gateway Pundit," "Trump caves. Ends shutdown with no border wall. Pelosi's second big win this week. Video of Pelosi dancing." You also have pundits like Sebastian Gorka saying, this on FOX.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOU DOBBS, FOX HOST, LOU DOBBS: This president said it was going to be conditional, border security, building that wall. And he just reversed himself. That's a victory for Nancy Pelosi. It will be perceived as such.

SEBASTIAN GORKA, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: It may be perceived as such. But, Lou, remember, this is for three weeks. As far as I'm concerned, this is a master stroke.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: A master stroke.

CABRERA: Who do you think the president listens to more?

STELTER: I think the president is wanting to embrace Sebastian Gorka's point of view. There have been some others on FOX trying to support him through this. We know the president watches so much cable news he's hearing a lot of the criticism, the Ann Coulters of the world calling him a wimp. Lou Dobbs is one of his strongest supports in America and Lou Dobbs says he got rolled by Nancy Pelosi. It is remarkable. I think in some ways this is the strongest test yet of President Trump's reality distortion field, his ability to make us his own reality. A lot of these pro-Trump pundits have broken with him.

The one defense they're offering, the one pro-Trump argument is, well, he's got three weeks, let's see what happens, in three weeks, he'll shut down the government again if he doesn't get what he wants. That's a test. We'll see. We'll all meet back here in three weeks and see.

I wonder if Trump is trying to stall a little bit here. People have a short terms memory and they forget, three weeks from now, he was supposed to come back and get money for the wall. But a lot of these conservative commentators are angry with them this weekend.

CABRERA: He's trying to reassure them, don't worry, the wall is coming no matter what. I'll declare a state of emergency or national emergency if the Dems don't come my way.

The president's State of the Union was supposed to be the 29th and it was put on hold. It remains on hold. What does President Trump lose by not having that bully pulpit?

STELTER: What he loses is about 50 million viewers. The State of the Union is usually his most-watched speech of the year. The single time of the year that -- it's not just political junkies who are going to watch on cable news, it's going to be people who are tuning in to watch this is us on NBC. He's losing that opportunity to speak to a broad cross section of the country. It's not the biggest thing in the world but it's an opportunity for him. I'm sure he wants to get it rescheduled pretty soon. The other big opportunity is the Super Bowl. This time next week, the Super Bowl. For the last 10 years, presidents have usually given big Super Bowl interviews.

CABRERA: Thant's right.

STELTER: So far, President Trump has not committed, so we'll see if he actually does a Super Bowl interview.

CABRERA: Brian Stelter, good to have to you.

STELTER: Thanks.

CABRERA: Thank you very much as always.

Be sure to catch Brian on his show, "RELAIBLE SOURCES," tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

[16:45:00] They were separated at birth and wouldn't meet again for more than 50 years. Coming up, an incredible story of twin sisters who found each other after watching a CNN film.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: You have probably seen the promos. This is an incredible story. The news CNN film "THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS" explores an astounding true story about triplets that were separated at birth and, by coincidence, reunite 19 years later. Since that film was made, more twins separated at birth, have found each other.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta has one of those stories.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[16:50:00] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Fifty-four-year-old Michelle Mordkoff is about to meet someone she didn't know existed, her twin sister, Allison Kanter.

(on camera): Before she walks in, you're sort of just wrapped up in your own thoughts. What are you thinking?

MICHELLE MORDKOFF, FINDS TWIN: I feel like I could open my eyes and wake up and it wasn't real. I felt like it was a dream.

Hi.

GUPTA: You didn't know, obviously, that you had a twin. Your parents, adopted parents didn't know you had a twin?

MORDKOFF: Not at all, no. They are just as shocked as we are.

ALLISON KANTER, FINDS TWIN: Yes.

GUPTA (voice-over): Separated at birth, theirs is a story that makes you ask questions about nature versus nurture. Free will, could you have a twin unite there? KANTER: I never thought there would be somebody like Michelle out

there. I was caught by surprise. I mean, the rug was pulled out from under me.

GUPTA: Michelle and Allison were born May 12, 1964. When they were five months old, they were adopted by different families two days apart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His eyes are my eyes. My eyes are his eyes. And it's true.

GUPTA: By coincidence, last year, Michelle saw the CNN film "THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS." It's about triplets separated by a prominent Jewish New York City adoption agency, Louise Wise Services. The same agency to which Michelle and Allison were adopted. It made Michelle wonder could the same thing have happened to her.

Last summer, Michelle took a DNA test. The results, life changing. It revealed an immediate family member she did not know she had.

MORDKOFF: Oh. Who would you like to add? I'm adding a sister.

KANTER: Oh.

MORDKOFF: Very symbolic.

GUPTA: We don't know why Michelle and Allison were separated. In the case of the "THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS," it was for the purpose of a scientific study by Dr. Peter Neubauer, who had approached other agencies before finding Louise Wise.

BARCOFF: When Neubauer was trying to find twins to study, he went to a Catholic Church agency. The nun said to him, we don't separate what God puts together.

GUPTA: Neubauer died in 2008. And Louise Wise Services closed in 2004. The agency that absorbed all of its records, Spence Chapin, did not respond to CNN's multiple requests for comment.

(on camera): I notice the way you hold your hands. Do you notice, the way your legs are crossed?

MORDKOFF: We're noticing everything right now.

GUPTA: Ana, as I said in the piece there, this makes you ask questions about nature or nurture. Michelle and Allison, 54 years apart, they find each other, and you watch them, the way they carry themselves, the way they hold their bodies, speak, dress, all of that so similar. It makes you wonder how much of a role does nature play. Now, if you ask experts, they'll give you some variation of the answer it's 50/50. And also, it's starting to change, because we know now more than ever that your genes, your blueprint can change in response to how you interact with your environment. Epigenetics, it's called. It's not necessarily nature or nurture. It's more nature and nurture. And I think Michelle and Allison really make that case -- Ana?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, great story. Thank you for sharing with us.

Be sure to tune in, the award-winning CNN original film, "THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS." Premieres right here on CNN tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. You don't want to miss it.

Based on a true story. Here we go again. This year's nominees at the SAG Awards draw inspiration from real-life people and events. But not without some backlash.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:58:02] CABRERA: When the people are real, iconic and socially impactful, audiences respond and Hollywood knows it. So many of the films nominated for the SAG Awards this year are based on true stories.

But as Stephanie Elam reports, these portrayals aren't without some controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Of the SAG film nominees, roughly half involved characters based on real life. Telling those stories can prove tricky in today's polarizing world many.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We live in a time where contemporary history is up for debate. There's a lot of different versions of it that people are arguing about.

ELAM: No more is that playing out --

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You have a narrow assessment of me.

ELAM: -- than with "Green Book," about the late Don Shirley, a black classical pianist who hired a white bouncer to drive him in the Deep South.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I prefer not to get grease on my blanket.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Oh, I'm going to get grease on my blanky.

ELAM: Shirley's family claims they were never contacted and details were embellished to favor the driver. His son told "Variety" he co- wrote the film with Shirley's blessing.

NIC VALLELONGA, MOVIE COWRITER: He said no one else was there but your father and I. He approved what I put in and didn't butt in.

ELAM: So far, the controversy hasn't hurt or harmed Ali, who won a Golden Globe and was nominated for a SAG Award.

CHRISTIAN BALE, ACTOR: I can handle more mundane jobs. ELAM: Vice ripped from the headlines made headlines when star, Christian Bale, joked that Satan inspired him to play former Vice President Dick Cheney.

REP. LIZ CHENEY, (D), WYOMING & DAUGHTER OF DICK CHENEY: Christian Bale finally had a chance to play a real superhero, and he screwed it up.

ELAM: Cheney's daughter, Liz, slammed Bale. But ironically, Bale champions a monologue in the film considered redeeming for Cheney.

BALE: I made every effort to advocate for Cheney. There's no interest on Adam's part or mine on just doing a hatched job.

ELAM: Real life, almost always stranger than fiction.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[17:00:10] CABRERA: It's 5:00 eastern, 2:00 in the afternoon out west.