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Venezuela Political and Economic Crisis; Interview with Jennifer McCoy, Georgia State University; Trump Retreats but Vows Will Build Wall; Interview with Amy Pope, Former U.S. Deputy Homeland Security Adviser; Hundreds Still Missing after Brazil Dam Collapse; Kamala Harris Courts Black Women Voters; Three-Year Old Found Alive after Days Lost in Woods; SAG Awards 2019. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired January 27, 2019 - 04:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A power struggle in Venezuela. A Venezuelan military official switches sides, deepening the political crisis between opposition leader Juan Guaido and Nicolas sitting president Maduro.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Temporary relief. The U.S. government shutdown ends but President Trump says lawmakers need to hash out a permanent deal in just three weeks.

HOWELL (voice-over): Also ahead, a manhunt in the state of Louisiana. Police there searching for a suspect in a string of deadly shootings.

ALLEN (voice-over): Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world, coming to you live from Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): I'm George Howell from CNN World Headquarters. NEWSROOM starts now.


HOWELL: 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast.

We start with the political turmoil playing out in Venezuela.

ALLEN: The nation's military attache in Washington now says he no longer supports the president Nicolas Maduro. Colonel Jose Luis Silva Silva told CNN he's now backing opposition leader Juan Guaido. He says Guaido's road map includes transparent elections.

HOWELL: It is not just the people in Venezuela that are picking sides, nations around the world also doing the same thing. Here is a look at some that are backing Guaido, including the United States, the E.U. and much of Latin America.

ALLEN: Here is who is still backing Maduro: Russia, Cuba, Turkey and China. HOWELL: The U.N. Security Council debated the Venezuelan leadership crisis at a special meeting on Saturday.

ALLEN: The U.S. called on other nations to join in standing behind the opposition leader. Several European nations indicated they would if Maduro failed to call new elections by next week. Here is CNN's Michelle Kosinski with more.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: We heard some tough messages on the floor of the U.N. Security Council. This was a special session on Venezuela, called by the United States.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo went there to try to get other countries on board to supporting the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the legitimate leader of Venezuela. He said, at the very least, he would like to see some kind of presidential statement come out of the Security Council, at least supporting the people of Venezuela, supporting democracy.

But he said even that could not happen because Russia and China blocked it. And that was indicative of the kinds of statements we heard. While Pompeo was saying the time for games is over, either you're on our side and supporting democracy, or you're on Maduro's side and supporting mayhem, while Russia and Venezuela accuse the U.S. of orchestrating a coup in Venezuela.

Now on the ground there, the U.S. has kept its embassy open but pulled out all but essential staffers. And Pompeo warned Venezuela that it needs to keep those diplomats safe. Listen.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: And I want to be 100 percent clear. President Trump and I fully expect that our diplomats will continue to receive protections provided under the Vienna Convention.

Do not test the United States on our resolve to protect our own people. We hope that the international community will support the people of Venezuela and the transitional government led by Juan Guaido.


KOSINSKI: So now you have the United States and a number of other countries supporting Guaido. And the United States has flat-out said that Maduro has no legitimate power.

But then there are several European countries, including the U.K., France, Germany and Spain, who have given Venezuela eight days to hold free and fair elections. And if that doesn't happen, they say they will also view Guaido as the legitimate leader.

One hopeful sign, perhaps, is that there was word that some of Maduro's team were talking to Guaido. We'll just have to see where that leads -- Michelle Kosinski, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Let's dive deeper into Venezuela's political unrest with Jennifer McCoy, distinguished professor of political science at Georgia State, joining us via Skype from Budapest, Hungary, today.

Thank you for talking with us. Let's begin with this new development from Washington. The Venezuelan military attache pulling his allegiance from Maduro.

Is that significant?

JENNIFER MCCOY, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes, it is. It is what the gamble of declaring an interim presidency was hoping to provoke. Of course, much more of this. He's doing it from a safe position in Washington. And we'll have to wait and see if others follow him.

Right now Guaido is hoping that others around the world, other similar military --


MCCOY: -- attaches, might follow suit and then eventually some in Caracas. But that is still yet to see.

ALLEN: We know the opposition-led national assembly in Venezuela offered amnesty to the military that steps away from Maduro. That could be a tipping point. Also, word that perhaps Maduro and the opposition are talking.

Would that be a very positive step?

And do you foresee, with what we're looking at now, that there could be a political solution to this crisis?

MCCOY: There has to be a political solution to the crisis. I think some people have an exaggerated hope that there will be a complete capitulation and somehow a whole new group of people will simply take over the reins of the government and lead Venezuela forward.

But it is not going to work that way. There must be negotiations and it is a very good sign if they are talking because it is a complex transition. Even calling for new elections will take time to put the machinery in place, to improve what had been there before, to change the election authorities and to see who will oversee all of this process.

There also have to be talks about exactly what the amnesty will entail. There is international law that does not permit amnesty for crimes against humanity and war crimes. And so there are some complications there.

But it is absolutely necessary to give some incentives for the Maduro government and its allies in the military, et cetera, to consider leaving power without fearing what will happen to them when they leave.

ALLEN: Right. Meantime, the United States continues to encourage countries to stand with the opposition. Let's listen to secretary of state Mike Pompeo at the U.N. Saturday.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem.


ALLEN: We just mentioned the elections that some countries would like to see happen. You talked about the challenge of throwing that together.

But how important is it for other countries to give their international support to Mr. Guaido?

MCCOY: It would certainly continue to strengthen them. But the European Union giving the space of a week for the government to accept that there would be new elections is important because it allows time for negotiations.

And another thing that they really must consider is -- that makes this more complicated -- is what guarantees will they give to the governing party to continue to participate and its supporters to have a political life in a future Venezuela?

ALLEN: Well, let's take it back a step here. Mr. Guaido, 35 years old, planning a massive rally next week, how did this relative unknown become an opposition figure with heft?

MCCOY: Well, he kind of rose up to the top of his party because many of the older leaders were exiled or imprisoned. So it came down to him.

But it has been -- he's given a miraculous sort of sign of hope to many people and he's exerted his leadership and his communication skills and I think his coalition building skills in a very savvy way so that he is proving to be actually quite the leader.

Now of course, he's got people behind him, advising him, and he's got the other political parties and the opposition supporting him, unified in a way that they haven't been over the last year or so. So this is all pretty crucial for a move forward.

ALLEN: And as you were speaking, we watched video of him swearing himself in as the new president.

Will that stick?

We'll wait and see. We always appreciate your expertise, Professor Jennifer McCoy with us. Thank you again.

MCCOY: Thank you.

HOWELL: Back here now in the United States and a fresh warning to Democrats from the U.S. president, he says negotiations on border security need to begin immediately.

ALLEN: Even though President Trump left empty-handed at the end of the shutdown, he still insists he will build a wall.

Will he?

CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There were a number of factors that led to President Trump signing off on reopening the federal government this weekend. For one, he started to see his poll numbers slip and his disapproval rating go up as a result of the federal government shutdown.

Most notably, on Thursday, the president received a call from Senator Mitch McConnell, with the Senate majority leader telling Trump he was not sure how much longer he could keep Republican senators in line and in agreement over the issue of immigration, according to one source.

McConnell apparently told the president that --


SANCHEZ: -- GOP senators were frustrated at what they felt was a lack of a clear strategy from the White House on how to reopen the federal government.

And then on Friday, we saw real serious effects of the shutdown after many delays at airports throughout the country, where air traffic controllers were effectively calling in sick because they weren't being paid over the shutdown.

So ultimately President Trump reopened the federal government and did exactly what Democrats asked and not getting a cent for his long- promised border wall. But the president is maintaining he did not concede to Democrats; he is playing cleanup. Take a look at this tweet from President Trump Saturday.

Quote, "21 days goes very quickly. Negotiations with Democrats will start immediately, will not be easy to make a deal. Both parties very dug in. The case for national security has been greatly enhanced by what has been happening at the border and through dialogue. We will build the wall."

At this point, it's unclear exactly how negotiations will move forward for the president, with Democrats emboldened and Republicans apparently split on this issue. Privately, we are told that aides have talked about this as a humiliating loss for a president who does not often lose -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.


HOWELL: Let's talk now with Amy Pope. Amy is a senior fellow at The Atlantic Council, also served in the Obama White House as a member of the National Security Council.

Pleasure to have you on the show this hour live from London.


HOWELL: Let's start with the president's approval rating, if we can show our viewers where things stand now. This Poll of Polls showing disapproval now at 57 percent. This poll taken within the window of that partial government shutdown.

And we understand, Amy, that's one of the reasons the president took the action that he did, did what he said he would never do in so many tweets, caving to Democrats, reopening government, putting workers back to work but not getting a single dollar for that border wall that he wants for his base.

Three weeks now. A three-week reprieve before we're back to square one. The question I have for you, who has most pressure now?

pope: The president continues to have a tremendous amount of pressure. It was clear that he was losing the support of his Republicans in Congress as well as the American people. For many -- for the last two years, this president has been playing to his base.

And that strategy has worked for him because Congress has been dominated by the Republicans. Now he's dealing with a House that is controlled by Nancy Pelosi, by the Democrats.

And he really has to put into action this supposed talent he has for making a deal. So far he hasn't shown that he can do that. But now he'll have to do it. He'll actually have to govern and come up with a compromise.

HOWELL: The president seems between a rock and a hard place moving forward. One pundit, Ann Coulter, calling him a wimp for ending the shutdown with no money for the wall that he wants.

And adding pressure to that, if he gives anything to Democrats on immigration or DREAMers to get what he wants, wouldn't that alienate him even further with his base?

POPE: The problem is that the president has been playing to his base this entire time. But his base is actually a small percentage of the total American electorate. If he has his eye on 2020, he needs to find a way that appeals to middle America, not just his base.

His base is never going to vote for a Democrat. So I think he, as an election strategy, can count them in. But in terms of really getting things done, proving that he's offering something different than traditional partisan politics, he needs to find a way forward. Now he hasn't done that so far. But if he's going to continue to be

successful and show that he can govern, he has to find a compromise with the Democrats.

HOWELL: All of this, of course, -- workers now back to work, that's the good news. Finally receiving paychecks, they will receive some back pay at some point. But for many, the damage may already be done with regards to missed payments, health obligations, evictions, things like that.

Could there still be a threat in three weeks for people to see the same thing?

And what about the chilling effect for people who may be considering government as a possible work option?

POPE: I think this shutdown has been extraordinarily damaging for a couple of reasons. One, it held the American federal workers hostage to an unrealistic negotiation. The president was never going to win. He's in a position where he no longer controls the House, so he no longer controls the pursestrings, effectively.

So his strategy going in was flawed. But I think the other takeaway from this event was that the impact of the federal government goes well beyond the actual workers.

We saw an impact on the communities, where federal workers spend their money; we heard from restaurant owners who, were seeing a dip in sales; we know that air traffic control was affected and so people who were traveling their normal commute or --


POPE: -- travel was disrupted. And we know that people doing things like getting approval for small business loans or getting assistance with housing or rent or even companies that were looking to go from private to public, the impact of this shutdown was felt well beyond the 800,000 workers.

And I think that's what's absolutely clear this time that may not have been clear three weeks ago.

HOWELL: All right, Amy, we appreciate your time and perspective, thank you so much.

POPE: Thank you.

ALLEN: We are learning more from the indictment of Roger Stone about the contact between him and the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

HOWELL: According to the indictment, Stone sought dirt on Hillary Clinton from stolen emails released by WikiLeaks in coordination with the Trump campaign. Our Phil Black takes a look at what that means for Stone, Assange and Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ROGER STONE, LONG-TIME TRUMP ALLY: The charges today relate in no way to Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration or any other illegal act in connection with the 2016 campaign.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the center of long-time Trump associate Roger Stone's indictment, that Stone sought stolen emails from WikiLeaks that could damage Hillary Clinton's presidential race in coordination with the Trump campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) contact with the Trump campaign to contact WikiLeaks?

STONE: No, I have addressed that before, that is incorrect.

BLACK (voice-over): But the Mueller probe paints a different picture.

Back to July 2016, when WikiLeaks releases thousands of stolen documents from the DNC, damaging to Hillary Clinton. And after that, a senior Trump campaign official is directed to ask Stone about more damaging information, Organization-1, WikiLeaks, might have.

By August, Stone gets an email from Person-1, now confirmed to CNN as Stone associate Jerome Corsi, including these words.

"Word is friend in embassy plans two more dumps. One shortly after I'm back, second in October, impact plan to be very damaging."

That friend, WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, evading an arrest on an unrelated matter and potential extradition to the U.S.

Within a few days of the email, Stone claims direct communication with Assange.

STONE: I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to The Clinton Foundation. But there's no telling what the October surprise may be.

BLACK (voice-over): And sends this email to former Trump adviser, Sam Nunberg.

"I dined with my new pal Julian Assange last night."

Stone would later explain it was a joke.

But was it?

Both WikiLeaks and Stone's camps deny Stone and Assange ever meeting and WikiLeaks maintains there wasn't even a back channel, tweeting Friday, "These are only Stone, Corsi attempts at braggadocio. New evidence of no back channel with WikiLeaks."

Amid all these conflicting statements, we know that Stone and WikiLeaks have communicated directly from these private messages on Twitter. October 13, 2016, Stone messages WikiLeaks that since he's been

defending them and Assange, they may want to re-examine the strategy of attacking him.

A WikiLeaks staff member replies and attempt to distance WikiLeaks from Stone.

"We appreciate that. However, the false claims of association are being used by the Democrats to undermine the impact of our publications. Don't go there if you don't want us to correct you."

WikiLeaks tweeted this statement from an Assange lawyer Friday.

"The charges against Mr. Stone do not allege that Mr. Stone lied about his lack of contacts with Julian Assange but rather about his contacts with others and about documents reflecting those communications," and goes on to say that, "The office of the special counsel has never spoken with Mr. Assange" -- Phil Black, CNN, London.


HOWELL: Phil, thank you.

We're tracking developments in the Philippines. A military official says at least 17 people are dead, dozens more wounded, after twin blasts at a cathedral. They happened in the town of Jolo in southern Sulu province.

ALLEN: The first blast happened inside the cathedral; the second targeted soldiers nearby. The region has seen violence between Muslims and Christians for decades.

HOWELL: Rescue workers in Brazil have a long road ahead of them. They're still trying to find hundreds of people believed buried after a dam collapsed. We have an update on that story ahead for you.

ALLEN: Also after spending three days lost in the woods in the middle of winter, Casey Hathaway was found alive. His family tells his remarkable story -- ahead here.






ALLEN: Welcome back.

Signs of progress in U.S. talks with the Taliban. But officials warn there is a lot to be done.

HOWELL: On Saturday, the U.S. envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, tweeted that he's heading to Afghanistan after six days of negotiations in Qatar. A source telling CNN the U.S. and Taliban are discussing a cease-fire that may lead to a U.S. withdrawal. But there are fears that could mean the fall of the Afghan government.

We're awaiting word that rescue efforts in Brazil have resumed after heavy rain forced them to stop overnight.

ALLEN: Hundreds of people are still missing and at least 34 people confirmed dead after a dam collapsed Friday. For more about it, here is Patrick Oppmann.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surveying the damage. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro flies over the muddy aftermath of Friday's deadly dam collapse. Search efforts have doubled since the previous day.

Rescuers trolling through the mud and water, looking for anyone who may still be alive. So far civil authorities say around 300 people have been rescued. A spokesman for the Vale mine near the dam say all the missing people work for the company.

Police say they are trying to find a cafeteria they think is buried in the sludge. Local residents say the search could be delayed because of the landscape.

ALTHAIR GONCALVES, RESIDENT (through translator): The recovery of the area will be difficult, because the whole area was full, with the river and vegetation. Now the vegetation is all gone.


OPPMANN (voice-over): Officials say they are bringing in rescue dogs and Israel says it is sending a rescue team and equipment to the scene. President Bolsonaro says he will do everything possible to find the missing and comfort those waiting for answers.

JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The government is taking immediate steps to help minimize the pain of family members. From now on, the work is basically searching for missing people. Unfortunately, the death toll can greatly increase.

OPPMANN (voice-over): -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN.


ALLEN: We will keep you posted if they find more people alive.

There is a massive manhunt on in Louisiana right now for a suspect police say killed five people, including his girlfriend and his parents.

HOWELL: Plus, looking ahead to 2020. We run down the candidates who are lining up to take on the U.S. president and the specific group this woman, Kamala Harris, is courting. (MUSIC PLAYING)



ALLEN: And welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world. Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.




ALLEN: Police in Louisiana are searching for a man they say killed five people Saturday.

HOWELL: The suspect is believed to have shot his girlfriend, her father and brother and then his own parents. Our Kaylee Hartung has the story.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Saturday morning, Elizabeth and Keith Theriot were shot in their home in Gonzales, Louisiana. When police responded, the two victims were able to identify their 21-year- old son, Dakota Theriot, as the man who shot them. Both husband and wife later died in the hospital in Baton Rouge.

In the meantime, while authorities in Ascension Parish were looking for this killer on the run, in Livingston Parish, authorities began investigating the murder of three family members found in their home, Billy, Summer and Tanner Ernest.

Once these two departments talked to one another, they realized they were looking for the same man in Dakota Theriot, as Dakota was believed to have a relationship with one member of the Ernest family.

Authorities no longer believe he's in the vicinity of these five murders committed in Louisiana. They say they have reason to believe he's headed east towards Mississippi. And they think he is driving this stolen vehicle from the Ernest family.

Here you see a 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck, gray on the top, silver on the bottom, it has a Louisiana license plate of C583809. Here's more from the Ascension Parish sheriff.


BOBBY WEBRE, ASCENSION PARISH SHERIFF: The good news is we know who did this and we will soon find this person and put him in jail where he belongs.

This is probably, I would say, one of the worst domestic violence incidents I've seen in quite a while, for a young man to walk into a bedroom and kill his mother and his father and then kill friends in Livingston that he had a connection with.


HARTUNG: The sheriff went on to say they believe this is an isolated incident; they don't believe anyone else is a target for murder by Dakota Theriot. But a reminder that he is armed and dangerous so anyone he comes into contact with could be a target -- Kaylee Hartung, CNN.


HOWELL: All right, Kaylee, thank you.

It's not February yet and the 2020 Democratic field is already starting to take shape.

ALLEN: It seems like candidates are throwing their hats in the ring almost every day.

HOWELL: So here is the lineup as it stands right now: The California senator, Kamala Harris; the former Obama cabinet member, Julian Castro; Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard; former representative John Delaney and businessman Andrew Yang.

ALLEN: Also Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren are exploring a run, as is South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

HOWELL: One of those Democrats, Senator Kamala Harris, made her first major campaign trip since announcing her run for president.

ALLEN: She was in South Carolina Friday, courting a powerful voting bloc, black women. Our Kyung Lah was there.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a home in suburban Maryland, these college friends reflect on their past as one of their own makes a run for history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were all just right there together. We were just all, just, you know, regular girls and now here's Kamala.

LAH (voice-over): Or as the public calls her, Senator Kamala Harris, now a presidential candidate.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D-CALIF.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's why I'm running for President of the United States.

LAH (voice-over): On the heels of that announcement, the senator is making a first campaign stop, not in Iowa or New Hampshire but in South Carolina for her national sorority. LAH: What does this sisterhood mean politically?

MONIQUE POYDRAS, ALASKA SORORITY MEMBER: It is a fact that there are close to 300,000 women in Alpha Kappa Alpha, the sorority, incorporated and that is a fact. So it doesn't -- it is not rocket science.

LAH: These translate into votes and bringing other people in?

POYDRAS: I think that's a fair assessment.

LAH (voice-over): These women are the foot soldiers of a powerful voting bloc. CNN exit polling shows black women supported Democrats more than almost any other voting subgroup, helping drive Democratic wins in last year's midterms.

A fellow sister, the first black woman to enter the 2020 fray.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It translates into a ready made group of people who will come when she calls.

LAH: This isn't just a friendship or a sisterhood. We're talking about political power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're talking about political power and we have it. We have it and we're going to leverage it. And --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- you'll see, it is going to make a difference.

LAH (voice-over): You're looking at a built-in infrastructure and here's why.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a connection that was made back on the campus of Howard University that has transcended miles and years that brought us here today.

LAH (voice-over): A bond crossing more than three decades. In 1986, 38 women became line sisters. They were all students at Howard University, a historically black college, and joined Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first black sorority in the U.S., formed more than 100 years ago.

JILL LOUIS, AKA SORORITY MEMBER: If you think about it, in 1908, people were just a few ticks off emancipation. So now they find themselves in college.

And what are they trying to do?

It is really an uplift mission.

LAH (voice-over): Bound by that history, they forged their own paths, year after year, their lives weaving together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were down at the Senate, she had her formal swearing in at the time. Vice President Biden had sworn her in.

LAH: This was very recent.

POYDRAS: This is her recent picture, yes. So this picture was at her GW book event and we went there to support her.


HARRIS: Yes, I am.

POYDRAS: She talked about being a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha and the room exploded.

The appropriate response was (INAUDIBLE).

HARRIS: That's my source (ph) and my fans are in the room as well.

POYDRAS: You could see just by her response and then our response that it is all love.

LAH (voice-over): Felt most by those who know Kamala Harris best but shared by a national sisterhood, eager to help one of their own.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next gathering, next sleepover, next girl's night in, it'll be at the White House?

Yes, we're all going to be there.

LAH (voice-over): Kyung Lah, CNN, Rockville, Maryland.


ALLEN: You can certainly feel the support she has.

Here is a quote for you, "Life is not in the cloud waiting to be downloaded."

Who said that?

Pope Francis. That was the message he brought to thousands of young people in Panama.

HOWELL: Get off your phones. Get into life is basically what he's saying. During events celebrating World Youth Day, the pope said it is not enough to be connected online, you must actually get involved. During the service, he also called all those who abuse children, including clergy members, "unscrupulous."

ALLEN: Some bikers in Iraq are trying to leave years of war and sectarian violence in the dust by sharing the road.

HOWELL: Their group has a secret to keeping the peace. They're steering clear of any talk of politics. Our Michael Holmes has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Clad in leather, engines revving, a band of brothers roars through the streets of Baghdad, traveling the highways in a rumbling symbol of unity in a city that has seen so much war.

BILAL AL BAYATI, FOUNDER OF IRAQ BIKERS (through translator): Our goal is to build a brotherhood. It is humanitarian. And it changes society's view of this bike.

HOLMES (voice-over): These Iraqi bikers are hitting the road to put years of sectarian violence behind them and trying to put a new face on the stereotypical outlaw biker image. It is a group that is 380 strong, made up of men from different faiths, ages and professions, who have one common love: motorcycles.

AHMAD HAIDAR, BIKER (through translator): This team brought together people from all of Iraq's sectors, the doctor, the employee, the engineer, the lawyer, the laborer. It is like a small-scale Iraq.

HOLMES (voice-over): Founded seven years ago, when ISIS was on the rise and violence was widespread among the country's religious groups, the club meets regularly to ride together. And there is one rule everyone must follow.

BAYATI (through translator): It is absolutely prohibited to talk politics among members. If someone talks about politics, they're warned once or twice and then expelled.

HOLMES (voice-over): It is not all easy riding in Baghdad, though; military checkpoints slow down the choppers but the bikers say it is just part of the journey to find new roads for the country.

BAYATI (through translator) We no longer have the strength to endure these tragedies or to repeat them.

HOLMES (voice-over): A hope for more safe travels ahead for these road warriors -- Michael Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.


HOWELL: Still ahead this hour, a joyful end to a long, cold search. How a rescue team found a 3-year-old boy alive in the woods after being lost for days.

ALLEN: Plus, the coldest temperatures of the year are coming to Atlanta just in time for Super Bowl LIII.

HOWELL: Bundle up.




(MUSIC PLAYING) HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. This is a story captivating so

many people.

ALLEN: Sure has, such a good ending.

HOWELL: Yes. It took three days in brutal winter weather but a search team in North Carolina finally found a missing little boy alive.

ALLEN: Rescuers were combing the woods when they heard him call out for his mother. Joe Fisher from our affiliate WRAL spoke with his family members.


JOE FISHER, WRAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The relief for Casey Hathaway's safe return is still fresh, especially for a woman who says she carries the heaviest burden.

JULIE TOLER, JOE'S GREAT-GREAT GRANDMOTHER: I'm glad he's found because it had been terrible for everybody if something happened to him.

FISHER (voice-over): It was Tuesday afternoon when Julie Toler's great-great grandson wandered off on the heavily wooded street that bears her family's name.

TOLER: They play out there all the time. And they go back and forth from my house to my daughter's house.

FISHER (voice-over): This time Casey vanished, launching an all-out search with volunteers, even the FBI.

TOLER: (INAUDIBLE). I didn't want to get warm because I knew he was cold. I didn't want to eat because I know he was hungry. It's just terrible.

FISHER (voice-over): Freezing temperatures one night, heavy rain the next; 50 agonizing hours before a neighbor heard the 3-year-old crying. He was stuck in some thorn bushes in the woods, just a quarter mile from Toler's home.

TOLER: It is a blessing from God. There's no other way that boy could have survived it. I wouldn't have survived it the first night.

FISHER (voice-over): And Toler says he's now enjoying games and cartoons from the hospital where he's being treated for cuts and scrapes.

TOLER: I'm just praying he's moving on, trying to fix him.

FISHER: That he's just able to bounce back from this?

TOLER: Yes, just be his normal little self.

FISHER (voice-over): A family and community that leaned on their faith, faith that now stands stronger than ever.

TOLER: He's a tough little fellow, I'll tell you that.

FISHER: He's a fighter.



TOLER: He is. I'm so overjoyed, I can't hardly stand it. He's a miracle.

FISHER: And Toler says Casey told the family that a bear took care of him in the woods for two days. They're not really sure if there is truth to that but say as long as he's safe, what does it really matter?

Meanwhile the family is asking for some privacy about when Casey will be released from the hospital but we do know he's in good condition -- I'm Joe Fisher, WRAL News, New Bern.


HOWELL: Well, it was a friendly bear.

ALLEN: I would like to think there was a bear looking out for him. And God bless that little boy if he just made that up. Maybe he made a pretend teddy bear to help him out. Love it.


HOWELL: Russia is marking 75 years since the end of the Nazi siege of Leningrad, that's modern-day St. Petersburg. Thousands of Russian troops turned out in freezing weather there for this military parade.

ALLEN: The Nazi retreat in 1944 was a turning point in the Second World War. Russian president Vladimir Putin is set to lay flowers at a cemetery for victims of the siege. His older brother who died during the war is buried there.

Hollywood is gearing up for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, nominated films like "Green Book," are based on real life stories, but that is driving some real-life controversy. We'll talk about that after this.






ALLEN: Well, the Hollywood glitterati is getting made up and dressed up for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the rest of us feel like such average people, except for Los Angeles in the coming hours.

HOWELL: It is going to be fun there. The SAG, it is called, as it is called, features actors honoring actors for the best performances in film and television. Many nominations are based on real events. Our Stephanie Elam looks at art imitating life.


CHRISTIAN BALE, ACTOR, "DICK CHENEY": We can make this work.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the people are real, iconic...


ELAM (voice-over): -- and socially impactful, audiences respond and Hollywood knows it.

WASHINGTON: What makes it even more enjoyable and maybe even uncomfortable when watching it knowing that this happened.

ELAM (voice-over): Of the SAG film nominees, roughly half involve 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 (voice-over): No more is that playing out --

MAHERSHALA ALI, ACTOR, "DON SHIRLEY": We have a very narrow assessment.

ELAM (voice-over): -- 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.

"SHIRLEY": I told you not to get grease on my blanket.

VIGGO MORTENSEN, ACTOR, "TONY LIP": Ooh, I'm going to get grease on my blankie.

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

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

"SHIRLEY": Interesting the issues (ph) I'm looking for a black man.

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


"CHENEY": I can handle the more mundane jobs.

ELAM (voice-over): "Vice," ripped from the headlines, made headlines when star Christian Bale joked that Satan inspired him to play former vice president Dick Cheney.

LIZ CHENEY, DICK'S DAUGHTER: Christian Bale finally had the chance to play a real superhero and he clearly screwed it up.

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

BALE: I made every effort to advocate for Cheney because there is no interest on matters of mine in just doing a hatchet job.

ELAM (voice-over): On the television side, far fewer SAG nominees are based on true stories...

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: There is a massive search happening right now.

ELAM (voice-over): -- but this 2015 New York prison break and manhunt.

BENICIO DEL TORO, ACTOR, "RICHARD MATT": I want to be part of your dream.

ELAM (voice-over): Led to the Showtime miniseries "Escape at Dannemora," which earned Patricia Arquette a Golden Globe win and SAG nomination. Ben Stiller directed.

BEN STILLER, DIRECTOR, "ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA": And then as we learned more about it and the relationships, the human relationships that develop in a prison, it just seemed to me like it would be a great story to tell.

ELAM (voice-over): Real life almost always stranger than fiction -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


HOWELL: All right. From L.A. to Atlanta, Georgia, right here, next Sunday, NFL fans from around the world will converge here by the thousands.

ALLEN: This is Mercedes-Benz Stadium, site of the Super Bowl. And it is right next door to CNN.

Think about how we're going to get to work. We have no idea.

HOWELL: Not pretty. ALLEN: LA Rams and New England Patriots will battle for supremacy, the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy just arrived in Atlanta and who better to bring it than the Hall of Fame running back known as The Bus, Jerome Bettis.

Bettis was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team that won Super Bowl XL in 2006. That's next weekend. We got to get to work.

Today's top stories are just ahead.

HOWELL: Stay with us. We'll be right back.