Before her first term as a US senator, Harris previously served as California's attorney general and, prior to that, as district attorney of San Francisco.
Explaining the significance of announcing her presidential bid on Martin Luther King Jr Day, Harris said the icon of American civil rights movement, who sought inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi, has always inspired her. "That's why I'm running for president of the United States", the senator representing California said in a video posted on Twitter. "I'm running to lift those voices, to bring our voices together".
Harris launched her presidential bid as the U.S. observes what would have been the 90th birthday of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. "I love my country", Harris said on ABC. "Let's claim our future, our ourselves, for our children and four our country".
But she'll have plenty of rivals, some of whom are better-positioned to appeal to the ascendant economic-populist wing of the Democratic Party.
"If something is worth fighting for, it's a fight worth having. period", she said. "The problem, more precisely, is that she was ever a prosecutor at all".
While avoiding directly engaging Trump, Harris has accused the President of stoking racist and xenophobic rhetoric, while aligning his administration with white supremacists at home, and cozying up to dictators overseas.
Political foes will pore over Harris' record in California, where some activists questioned whether she should have been more aggressive in pushing for changes to the criminal justice system.
While some of the other potential 2020 contenders like former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Independent Sen.
Harris' announcement, made on "Good Morning America", comes following months of speculation surrounding the Democrat, a rising star in the party who was elected California's junior senator in 2016 after two terms as the state's attorney general.
Afterwards spokesman Jay Carney said: "They are old friends and good friends and he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities".
Throughout her speech, however, Harris deemphasized her particular identity and instead said that she is speaking for all Americans.
Harris is the third USA senator and the fourth woman to join the 2020 fray. "And in contrast to Obama's cool and reserved persona, Harris radiates warmth and stresses her connection to friends, family and community".
Harris was also the first woman, first African-American and first Asian-American to serve as California's attorney general, and refers to herself as a "progressive prosecutor".
Since Harris sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Stephanopoulos also asked if she has seen any evidence from special prosecutor Bob Mueller's investigation that would warrant impeaching Trump.
After kicking off her campaign in California, she plans to travel to Iowa to field questions from voters at a CNN-sponsored town hall at Drake University in Des Moines.
As California AG in 2016, Harris won a $1.1 billion settlement against the now-defunct for-profit Corinthian Colleges for its abusive predatory lending practices that left tens of thousands of students in student loan debt after receiving "useless degrees".
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