The circumstantial evidence, thus far, regarding the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi is fairly damning--he went into the Saudi Arabian consulate building in Istanbul on October 2, and he did not come back out. The Turkish police allege they have audio proof of what happened to him. He was there as a Saudi Arabian national ex-pat on personal business, he wasn't doing anything but getting some paperwork related to his divorce so he could remarry, which is one of the important functions of such offices--to serve their nationals.
They appear to have, once again, circumstantially, served Khashoggi differently. There might be reason to believe he at one time was an agent on behalf of the royal family, and after the shakeup, became an independent voice regarding KSA politics. It looks like he entered this building and did not come out again because the Saudi government could not at once provide security video proof to that effect. There's a whole lot of backstory regarding the Arab Spring and the legitimacy of the Muslim Brotherhood as a political effort and not a terror thing, but I don't even have the stones to try and parse ME politics at the mo. Anyhow, there is a possibility that Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister and smirking millennial proof that extremism can rebrand in the social media age for some values of people staying asleep, ordered a soft hit, got fancy, botched it, and is currently fuxxoring up the fallout with the current US regime too compromised to help but engage in a cover-up.
See, the US/KSA relationship goes back a while, and was really tight during the last Republican Administration. Trump seems to have been really happy to reestablish US/KSA ties and also appears to have multiple financial reasons to. Even if he lied and pointedly said he had no financial attachments whilst defending KSA. He dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to thank the Saudi Royal family for existing and to create the above picture: Is this Columbo begging the pardon of the most likely culprit in the course of the US' version of the investigation? Or is this a well-compensated diplomat kissing the behind of his boss's patron, faking like everything is mad cool, when everything is mad short of cool? For a version of reality where it is very probable that digital confirmation exists that a journalist was either injected with something or otherwise subdued shortly upon entrance into the building, and then was sectioned like an orange, the optics created by this above picture is...not great.
Unless some assurance really existed that KSA had no hand in whatever happened to Khashoggi, this picture should not exist, And for various reasons, this assurance should already have been made public. But it has not been, and Mike Pompeo has made this disgraceful and public journey to do no verifiably useful thing whatsoever, except pose with the likely director of the hit on a guy who could not have, all things considered, been so threatening to the order of the KSA government to merit his believed dismembering.
If worse comes to worse, as seems likely, this picture should be Trump's foreign policy swan song, and proof he's got no business playing on this particular grass. But social media and stupid fuckery and the universe that seems constructed to announce "Nothing matters" will possibly create a narrative where either the KSA lied for great internal security reasons, where the Trump Administration fronted believing them for great diplomatic reasons, and we should all just accept the results because we've nothing else to go on, or both.
This would be an entirely different, and dangerous, game, from what has been played before. But my gut feeling is, this started from Trump foreign policy incompetence. They overly-identified with KSA, and the KSA got stupid with unstructured possibilities.
The US has been derided by some libs as having played "world cop" for too long. The Trump era is defined by lacking such a definition for the US. But who else, I ask you, is gonna? And if the US abdicates, should they so obviously pose with suspects? For his part, Trump lets us continue believing the worst.