House democrats raised the stakes in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump by announced a formal vote to be held Thursday, after insisting for weeks that they did not need a floor vote to proceed with their investigation.

The Democrats argued that the defiance of an former administration officials to testify won't slow down the impeachement proceedings against the President.  Charles Kupperman, deputy to former national security adviser John Bolton, refused to testify before the Congressional panel and took the issue to court.

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz continued to show his staunch support for President Trump, saying the deep state was to blame for everything .

International Business Times brings to you key developments Monday around the Congressional impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Demcrats to vote on impeachment

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday that the House Democrats have set up a vote for later this week as they move to counter claims made by GOP about an unfair process. It would be the first formal vote of the impeachment process as Democrats look to fasttrack procedures that could lead to President Donald Trump being the third president in U.S. history to be removed from office.

"This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel," Pelosi wrote in a letter to lawmakers Monday.

The move marks a shift in strategy by Democrats who had insisted for weeks that they did not need a floor vote to proceed with investigation into Trump's dealings with Ukraine. Republicans had relentlessly attacked the process as unfair but a vote could knock down that pillar of Trump's defense.

Ex-Trump official refuses to testify in impeachment inquiry:

Charles Kupperman, deputy to former national security adviser John Bolton, refused to testify after being subpoenad by the Congress. He was a witness to the July 25 phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. 

Kupperman had sought a court ruling Friday on the whether he should tesitfy in the House's impeachment inquiry, pointing out that he is caught between the Executive and the Legislature.   

Democrats have said that Kupperman's decision to defy the subpoena would not slow down the impeachment inquiry against the President. 

GOP leaders scramble to defend Trump

Top Trump allies attended the weekly Monday meeting with Republican leaders to beef up efforts to defend Trump against the Ukraine allegations. While there is  a growing desire among the Republicans to build a leakproof defense for the President, their current efforts doesn't look like helping his precarious position.

While GOP has been hammering the Democrats about the transparency of the probe, Pelosi's announcement of the official vote has knocked down the argument.  In an interview with CNN, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) fumbled for answers, then sidestepped questions about the impeachment inquiry and Ukraine scandal. 

"I thought we all were supposed to investigate what happened in the 2016 election," Davis told CNN, saying there was "no dispute" about Trump asking Ukraine to investigate the 2016 election. 

NSC official twice raised concerns about Trump's Ukraine tactics

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who oversees Ukraine policy at the White House, plans to testify Tuesday, saying it was improper of Trump to ask Ukraine's president to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman said in his opening statement, a copy of which was obtained by Politico.

“I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained,” he added.

Trump is innocent, Deep State is the guilty one, says Mark Gaetz

Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity, Congressman Mark Gaetz (R-FL) said : "Donald Trump is innocent, the Deep State is guilty."

On Monday night Gaetz was talking about Hunter Biden and the investigaiton by U.S. Attorny John Durham into the Russia investigation, which according to Gaetz, focuses the most on former president Barack Obama's time at the White House. He added that even Durham was probably afraid of the Deep State.

According to Hannity, Gaetz is a member of the only group in Congress "which keeps its promises and stands for principals, The Freedom Caucus."