On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that Peter Debbins, the former Army Green Beret who pleaded guilty this week to conspiring to spy on the United States for Russia, taught at an institution linked to multiple allies of outgoing President Donald Trump.
"Debbins was a graduate of and teacher at the D.C.-based Institute of World Politics, a small but influential school in conservative foreign policy circles," reported Rachel Weiner. "Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and military contractor Erik Prince both have ties to the school."
"Born in the United States but with family ties to Russia, Debbins told investigators in a written statement that he had a 'messianic vision' of saving Russia from its own leadership and thought the intelligence operatives 'would be my allies in overthrowing their government,' according to court papers," said the report. "He said he also became concerned about the impact on his wife’s family if he did not engage and was bitter about his experience in the U.S. Army."
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI officials about a meeting with Russian officials in the run-up to Trump taking office. He later sought to retract the plea, and Trump's allies in the Justice Department moved to dismiss the charges, which was rejected by the federal judge overseeing the case. Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, founded the mercenary group Blackwater, and was involved in attempting to set up backchannel between the Kremlin and the Trump administration.