Sen. Kamala Harris not ruling out 2020 White House run

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., says she isn't ruling out a 2020 run for president in her most direct comments yet about her political future.

In an interview on MSNBC's "KasieDC," Harris said she's focused on the 2018 midterm elections. "I'm focused on a lot of other things as a higher priority" than running for president, she said.

Pressed on whether she was ruling out a 2020 bid, Harris said: "I'm not ruling it out, no."

Harris is viewed as a rising star in Democratic politics. Her likely presidential ambitions are the subject of wide speculation, and she's often included on the not-so-short lists of potential Democratic 2020 hopefuls.

A former prosecutor, she was California's attorney general before she was elected to the Senate in 2016.

Harris — the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India — has started to carve out a reputation as a defender of immigrants in the Trump era, a move that could give her an edge with those voters in 2020. Earlier this year, she bucked her party's leadership to vote against an immigration compromise that she said made too many compromises with Republicans, angering some of her colleagues.

Other possible Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate — including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey — voted "yes."

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UNITED STATES - MAY 22: Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., makes her way to the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on May 22, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) arrives for a town hall meeting in Sacramento, California, U.S., April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: Senate Judiciary Committee members Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) (L) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) talk during a hearing about the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Federal Bureau of Investigation Acting Deputy Director David Bowdich testified that the FBI could have and should have done more to stop the school shooter Nikolas Cruz after it receieved several tips about him. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) holds a town hall meeting in Sacramento, California, U.S., April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks about the Senate Intelligence Committee findings and recommendations on threats to election infrastructure on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
California gubernatorial candidate, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom arrives with Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) at a campaign rally in Burbank, California, U.S. May 30, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 23: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) (2nd L) shares a moment with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) (R) as Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) (L) looks on during a news conference on immigration in front of the U.S. Capitol May 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. Sen. Harris, joined by other female Democratic congressional members, held a news conference 'to show support for immigration and refugee policies that protect the rights and safety of women and children.' (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 23: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) (C) speaks during a news conference on immigration in front of the U.S. Capitol May 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. Sen. Harris, joined by other female Democratic congressional members, held a news conference 'to show support for immigration and refugee policies that protect the rights and safety of women and children.' (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US Senator Kamala Harris attends the United State of Women Summit at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on May 5, 2018. (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) questions witnesses during a hearing about the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Federal Bureau of Investigation Acting Deputy Director David Bowdich testified that the FBI could have and should have done more to stop the school shooter Nikolas Cruz after it receieved several tips about him. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks during a news conference with fellow Democrats, 'Dreamers' and university presidents and chancellors to call for passage of the Dream Act at the U.S. Capitol October 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump said he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and has asked Congress to find a solution for the status of the beneficiaries of the program, called 'Dreamers.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) walks to the Senate chamber for a series of 6 roll call votes regarding the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution on Capitol Hill, on October 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 13: Senate Intelligence Committee members Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) (C) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (R) arrive for a closed-door committee meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill July 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. Some members of the committee have demanded that Donald Trump, Jr. testify before the intelligence committee after it was revealed that he and Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer in hopes of getting opposition information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)(L) walks with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) (C), to a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence closed door meeting at the U.S. Capitol, on April 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. The committee is investigation possible Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) heads for her party's weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol May 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Many Republican and Democratic senators expressed frustration and concern about how President Donald Trump may have shared classified intelligence with the Russian foreign minister last week at the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Harris made the comments about her future after she visited the Otay Mesa Detention Center, in the San Diego area just across the Mexican border.

She spent Friday morning meeting with mothers who had been detained and separated from their children after crossing the border. Harris said the mothers claimed to have been separated from children as young as five years old.

In the interview, Harris also said the United States should consider abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

The hashtag #AbolishICE has become a rallying cry for immigration activists.

"We've got to critically re-examine ICE and its role and the way that it is being administered and the work it is doing," she said. "We probably need to think about starting from scratch."

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