However, instead of everyone accepting some blame and moving on, Trump's team chose to throw a White House intern under the bus instead and allege she had been inappropriately touched by Acosta during the incident.
That argument may have been on Judge Kelly's mind when he asked CNN's attorney, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., why the White House would decide to take action against Acosta now.
The judge did not base his core ruling off the First Amendment but rather the Due Process clause of the 5th Amendment. The White House initially justified revoking Acosta's access because they said he placed hands on an intern in the televised news conference.
"The White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice", said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders hours later, referring to Mr Acosta.
"If the president wants to exclude all reporters from the White House grounds, he clearly has the discretion to do that", James Burnham, the lawyer for the defendants, said. "We intend to file a friend of the court brief in support of CNN's lawsuit to defend its constitutional rights". The White House had argued that CNN could simply send other reporters in Acosta's place, yet Kelly argued that it "does not make the harm to Mr. Acosta any less real". "While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone".
CNN argued that Acosta's pass was pulled because of Trump's animosity toward him and the network's coverage, an arbitrary decision in violation of the first and fifth amendments. Schlapp said "I'm not going to get into any internal deliberations that are happening".
While responding to a hypothetical from Kelly, Burnham said that it would be perfectly legal for the White House to revoke a journalist's press pass if it didn't agree with their reporting.
The White House's explanations for why it seized Acosta's credentials have shifted over the last week.
In an interview published Wednesday in The Daily Caller, Trump called Acosta "bad for the country". "As a matter of law... yes", he said.