The message Trump is sending seems loud and clear: Fraud and corruption are not serious crimes. And as such, these types of white-collar crimes can be ignored. As a former federal prosecutor, I could not disagree more. In fact, I believe fraud and corruption are among the most serious of crimes, because they are motivated by greed and erode our faith in government…

Predators of all types — from criminals who engage in fraud to those who commit sexual exploitation — often groom their victims for action they want to take in the future. They use an incremental approach to normalize inappropriate behavior. When the conduct advances only bit by bit, no individual step causes the victim to stop it. At some point, the transformation becomes complete, the behavior has lost its taboo, and the defendant can engage in once-unthinkable misconduct unchecked.

Trump may be using his pardon power in the same way. By inuring the public to the harm of fraud and corruption, the president can convince his base of supporters that these are not serious crimes. He has called the 14-year sentence for Blagojevich “ridiculous,” stating that his conviction is based on “a phone call where nothing happened.” Sound familiar?